Saturday, May 31, 2014

open letter to congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz

dear congressman debbie wasserman schultz,

your're an asshat.

i'm going to pause here and look up what state and district you represent.


ok, so you represent florida's 23d district. i have to go look up what district that is.


*wild laughter*

ok, setting aside that florida's 23d district is a hotbed of douchbaggery, you are an asshat.

you want to know why i've made a snap judgement about your asshattery without even knowing where you're from or what your record is? because you let the parade of criminal and loserly theatrical puppetshow directors otherwise known as the democratic congressional campaign committee use your name on one of the emails they send me every half hour.

WE KEEP EMAILING YOU, the subject line reads.

President Obama sent you an email.

Vice President Biden sent you an email.

Nancy Pelosi sent you an email.

Now I'm sending you an email.

We're emailing you because this is really important

yeah, i'll bet it's important.

suuuuure, president obama emailed me, li'l ole me, personally.
suuuure, vice president biden put his own little thoughts in an email.
suuure, nancy pelosi took time out of her busy schedule of receiving bribes to write me a few thoughts because it's really important.

and now you, congresswoman *has to look up who you are because you're just THAT much of a minor player* debbie wasserman schultz have sent me yet another email as if it's not just a pack of evil little staffers trying to raise money by setting up an imaginary epic comic book style battle against the evil koch brothers.

and granted, the evil koch brothers are evil, but between the abrogation of civil rights and the wholesale selling of public resources and surveillance and the TPP and all that crap you democrats are trying to ram down our throats, i don't see much of a difference between you and the evil koch brothers and their pet boehner, except that those guys don't send me an email every half hour asking me to send MONEY THAT WILL BE TRIPLE MATCHED!!!!

tell you what, ineffective pawn of the campaign committee debbie wasserman schultz, since you guys have bags of money just waiting to triple match my gift, why don't you just take THAT pile of money and feed it to your pals at the democratic corruption committee?

you guys keep mentioning that your records indicate that you have received no donations from me.

how clever of you to notice.

oh, but wait!!!! some previously unheard-of congresswoman from florida -FLORIDA!- has added her name to the list of crooks and losers asking me for money. this changes EVERYTHING. quick! it's debbie wasserman schultz! get the checkbook!!

*loud hysterical laughter*

i'm sorry. i just don't even have a way to close this. you're an asshat, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz.

an asshat and a patsy.

love, flask

Thursday, May 29, 2014

another day.

'k. so this morning i woke up and it was looking to be a nice day so i had breakfast and decided that i should go geocaching.

then i thought that i should maybe have something a little more substantial to eat, because out playing.

put on my geocaching contacts and appropriate shoes and out the door.

got down to the stop sign before i realized that i had left my microwaved freezer burrito (but homemade, so points for that) next to the door where i left it while i was tying my shoes so i had to go back to get it.

after that it was pretty unremarkable, except for the old quarry with the 450 million year old fossilized limestones, the salmon spawning hole, and the sudden and uncomfortable discovery that i am horribly, terribly allergic to honeysuckle.

and i saw bunnies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

more about that rabbit

i was talking with the neighbors and they say the rabbit comes and sits on their porch every day.

it isn't anyone's pet, but maybe it is a smart rabbit who has figured out that staying close to people means there will be no foxes.

it is built like every wild rabbit i've ever seen (although LARGE) and while not especially friendly with people, it does not fear us, either.

i also notice the neighbors' side of the driveway has fewer dandelions than mine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

open letter to bove's

dear bove's,

i love your pasta sauces, really i do. i love that you produce them locally, from real food, without preservatives.

that thing about the lack of preservatives, though, is that a jar goes moldy before i get to finish it, even if i eat your sauce every day.

and it's super not convenient for me to take half a jar of sauce, transfer it to some other container, and put it in the freezer.

so this is what i want you to do: i want you to make the same delicious sauce in a smaller size because i am certain that i am not the only single person out here who enjoys your sauce and wants to buy a jar of it that's small enough to use up before it goes bad.

think about it, please: bove's sauce. pint jars.


Monday, May 26, 2014


right now, as i write this, there's a bunny in my driveway.

this is notable because it's the first time in all the years i have lived here that i've ever seen a rabbit in the driveway.

foxes, yes. deer, yes. even moose on the back patio, but i have never until now seen a rabbit.

this particular rabbit is large and healthy and relaxed, lying down a little while quietly munching fresh dandelions. it appears unconcerned with the dangers of predation and is right out in the open.

it is a large rabbit, maybe too large for the neighborhood cats.

or for falcons.

and it gets weirder.

a neighbor pulled up in her car and walked to her front door passing about fifteen feet behind the rabbit.

i thought the rabbit would get scared and run off.

the rabbit did not seem to care, and the neighbor did not appear to notice the HUGE HONKIN' rabbit on the lawn. out in the open.eating dandelions.

the neighbor has gone inside.

the rabbit is still there.

it's sitting back on its haunches, scratching an ear. supremely unworried, for a rabbit.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

the cave

a couple of weeks ago while i was up in maine, i made the hike up cranberry peak as part of the cache challenges i'd decided to do.

i think i mentioned it to you before, but i will say it again: the trail up to cranberry peak is only three and a quarter miles long, but if you're in good shape you should expect it to take four hours. the terrain is kind of rough.

i had seen some mentions in scattered posts about THE CAVE, but i hadn't seen trail markers or anything that suggested to me it might be on the way to cranberry peak, so i figured it was just a thing i'd have a look at some other time maybe.

but way, way up the mountain up near the moose latrine section of trail there's a little sign that says THE CAVE which is both inviting and, under the trail conditions, a little frightening. i don't know if it's going to be like the debsconeag ice cave, or something more frightening.

i don't even know how far it's going to be.

first look at it
but the trail i marked with a good deal of flagging tape, and i decide there will be no harm in going down at least a little ways just to see.


it's less of a cave and more of a fracture in the rock, but way cool.

come to think of it, with a few feet less snow there might be more cave-iness to it, but all the same i climb up to the ledge, hands and feet,

and i hang around in there for a while.

then it's a jump down into sliding on my butt to the bottom of the ravine and out and up to the trail again.

it is a side trip well worth taking, even alone on a rainy day and by the time i get out of there the clouds are even beginning to clear and the sun is coming out.
view from inside

it flickers briefly across my mind to maybe go back up to the summit to have a look at the view, but that idea is quickly quashed by the knees and my sense of growing fatigue.

this is enough.
it's foggy in here.

view down ledge

sun beginning to show

Saturday, May 24, 2014


a group of my neighborhood children have just gone down the street toward the basketball court with an alarming assortment of equipment: bicycles, soccer balls, wiffle bats, pool noodles, and those styrofoam things with handles that you can use for body surfing or light sledding.

i want to follow them and see what they intend to do with all this stuff, since they clearly have some sort of plan.

i do not dare go.

UPDATE: ok, two more kids have gone by, one with a ball glove and a bat and another with -i kid you not- a foam sword. there is some running and sneaking and i think i now hear some assorted screaming.

whatever is going on, it is going to be epic.

Friday, May 23, 2014

out at myers beach

if you want to follow the story of my may roadtrip as it plays itself out across the landscape, you can read the geocache logs, which start here.

right now i am looking at some pretty pictures from the morning of 8 may which are not attached to any cache logs, and they can be found here.

both of those lists are getting longer as i get the story told, so if you are enjoying that story, you should continue to check there.

later on here i will be posting some of the bonus material, including some deeper tellings of some of the more, uh, involved incidents.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

towing the line

yes, i know it's not spelled that way. i know, as all you word weenies know, that it is properly "toeing the line" and at the risk of having you snort with disdain i will spell it this way intentionally because here it's kind of funny.

so i think i mentioned to you that for my maine roadtrip i decided to go up to eustis, maine.

it's unusual for me to set out with a plan and a destination, but when i was idly looking at maps of places i MIGHT go, i was sort of scanning for mystery caches because i like to solve a few of an area's puzzles because i like to sample a variety of things and not just blow through on the easy grabs.

and if you're looking at a cache map of the eustis area, there's a little know of challenge caches and when i looked at them, they sounded super fun, so i decided to just drop everything and go do them.

so i wrote to the cache owner to check and see if i might find the finals before i'd gone and logged all the stages and then log them properly later, because sometimes you run into a cache owner who will delete your logs if you sign a final before you've gotten the greenlight even if you've done all the work and that can be a pain.

and the CO said i should come by the house for some trail advice and also to borrow her inreach because, you know, wilderness. when i passed her house in the morning, it was too early to drop in on someone you know, let alone someone you've not met yet.

and passing the house was totally non-stalkery, because it happens to be on the road to a campsite i often use.

i thought i'd spent the first day in town getting my feet under me and picking up some easy car caches.

i headed up the time pond road.

now, while it was muddy in spots, it wasn't anything worse than, say, MY road in the springtime, so i didn't think much about it. the sides of it were kind of gushy in spots, but if you don't try to pull off into the mud you ought to be fine.

and i was fine, too, sensibly avoiding the edges of the road where it was mushy and as i climbed in elevation everything was better drained and much firmer and hen i got eight and a half miles up the road and went to pull over but shouldn't have done and immediately i knew enough to try to get out but it was already too late.

i got out of the car to look at how things had lined up and heard a giant gurgling sound as what could only be termed quicksand sucked the passenger side of my car in right down to the frame.

but i've still got two wheels on solid road, so i figure a truck and a tow rope ought to do me just fine.

i had seen three jeeps out on the road earlier in the day, and not all together, so maybe someone would come by and pull me out.

not so much.

i will cut you

i am often asked when i am on the road if i am afraid to be alone on the road in remote places, especially as a woman.

first let's address that last little bit of bullshit.

a woman is not a dainty little flower that needs protecting any more than her helpless male counterpart and let me tell you, there are plenty of helpless men out there.

but no.

i am not afraid.

it's not because i am not aware of potential dangers and risks. yes, there are people out there who will hurt you, and there are critters out there who will hurt you, and there are conditions that will hurt you.

mostly you should come prepared to face the worst conditions you might face. come prepared to have to spend a week or so living on your own with no assistance. have food, water, a way to get more water, shelter, and first aid supplies. be prepared for heat, cold, and monsoon.

do you know how to make a solar still?

i do.

if you're stranded less than a day you can relax and live off supplies. if you're stranded more than a day you should already be thinking how to get more water and more food just in case more than a day turns into more than a week.

so that takes care of the weather.

most critters who would eat you won't eat you if you look like too much trouble to catch. while you are made almost entirely out of tasty meat, very few predators will prefer to eat you over, say, some nice easy rabbits.

but don't be stupid and complacent.

and as for people, most of the people you meet out in the wilderness are just like people everywhere else, if maybe they like a little more solitude than average. i have found these people are typically quick to share snack foods, beverages, time, advice, shelter, and the worse the conditions are the more generous they are.

because out in the wilds you never know when it's going to be you that gets caught short.

but yes, here and there is a person who means to do harm. you should never lose track of that idea because even though most people mean you no harm and will do you no harm, you should have a plan for what happens just in case. this means you're going to have to think about hurting someone real bad and in a hurry if you need to. you can't afford to be squeamish about it.

in all the years i've gone out in the wilds, my creep radar has only been set off a handful of times. and just in case my creep radar doesn't go off properly, i keep an eye on the escape plan because anything, anywhere, could go bad very quickly.

you should be prepared and alert but if you are afraid all the time you won't be having any fun.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

odd little coincidence

so i was up in northwest maine and i was washing the mud off of my hands in the kitchen of someone i'd only just met (like you do) and i saw this little wooden coin on the windowsill.

it wouldn't be particularly weird, except i RECOGNIZE that handwriting.

that is my dad's handwriting, and "this is vermont: vergennes" is one of my dad's caches.

*twilight zone music*

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

open letter to staples

dear staples,

i realize that in order to have a savings card at your store (which actually comes in handy the few times a year i have to buy usuriously expensive printer ink), i have to allow you to send me twice daily emails about crappy deals for stuff i don't need or want and am not going to buy.

you do realize, don't you, that i delete them all without reading them and the constant reminder of what i have to do in order to get my printer ink cheaper only makes me try real hard to buy my other office supplies at some store that is not staples just because i don't like your intrusiveness?

yeah, i didn't think you thought of it that way, because the subject lines always sound like you think you're doing me a favor, getting in my face like i was dating a needy car salesman with attachment issues.

you're an object of ridicule in my house.

thanks for the reminders.

love, flask.

Monday, May 19, 2014

bad boys

so yesterday i was at a party, getting ready to have lunch and someone shouts "hey, flask! you got a flat tire!"

sure enough.

this, i don't need.

but i'm at a party with geocachers and geocachers are nothing if not resourceful.

and handy.

so chip, who is the husband of the party host, who i have only just met that morning, says he'll go get his air compressor right after lunch.

and after lunch there are some people who i want to go caching with and i figure getting my tire fixed is going to be an all day kind of thing, especially on a sunday afternoon, so i tell the people i'll talk to chip about how to go about getting the tire fixed and i go to look for him and i can't find him in the crowd which is mostly because he's not in the crowd.

he's in the parking lot, just finishing up inflating my tire.

and he's managed to find a local guy who will fix my tire NOW.

by "local guy", i mean "three mailboxes over on the left". and by "now", i mean that he's ready for me when i get there.

you want to guess how much that kind of service cost me?

on a sunday afternoon?

go on, guess. i'll wait.

*goes to check dinner in the oven*

the guy has a big sign in the shop that says he doesn't take credit cards, so i ask him if he'll take a check. he kind of wrinkles up his nose and says he does. "that'll be five dollars", he says.


in that case, i have cash.

in case you are ever in need of a mechanic and you happen to be on town hill in jacksonville, vt, you should call bad boys automotive.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

five-thirty in the afternoon.

it's five-thirty in the afternoon and it's bedtime.

last night there was a disturbing amount of blattering slat-blasting barrel-busting rain and you really NOTICE a thing like that when you're sleeping in your car.

this morning a truckload of new geocaches was published over on the ashuelot rail trail.

did i get the firstfinds on them?

no, i did not.

you know why? i was out geocaching when they got published.

you want to know WHERE i was geocaching when i missed the online publication of the dozen new caches on the ashuelot rail trail?



Saturday, May 17, 2014

the letter M

what i learned today is that my knees, hips, and feet really need more time to recover from my little adventure in maine.

but flask, i hear you say. aren't you home? weren't you going to show us pictures and tell us stories?

why, yes. i WAS home, but then i went out again and am now wandering happily (ok, maybe not exactly happily) around southern vermont, cranking back and forth on route nine. see, all you really need to know about travel in southern vermont is that there's only one road that goes across. this is on account of the mountains. if you're trying to imagine an elevation profile along route nine between brattleboro and bennington (two cities that are forever irritated when people from away can't remember which one is which, which is kind of like the towns of pittsford and pittsfield, which are on opposite sides of the mountains and although they're not far apart, you can't get from one to the other on account of no road over the mountains...)

...uh, anyway. if you're trying to imagine the topography of route nine, it is a lot like the letter M. you go up and up and up and then down a little and then up a little and then down and down and down. there are runaway truck ramps at disturbingly frequent intervals, and mashed guardrails at even more disturbingly frequent intervals.

in the flooding from tropical storm irene we lost huge parts of route nine and the best advice for how to get across southern vermont was to go down into massachusetts  and use their roads.

speakin' o' which, it's three years on and here in wilmington they're still doing reconstruction. i know, yeah, i keep telling you i'm going to post picctures and tell you about that time i came down here and did demo work the october after, but i keep getting behind in adventure telling.

so yeah, i'm in wilmington at the moment, which is pretty much the middle of the M.

which sort of explains why the flooding was so bad.

here in the middle of the M it has been raining filthy soaking steady rain all day. if i had known it was not raining for most of the day down at the feet of the M, i would have gone down there and enjoyed dryness earlier in the day.

Friday, May 16, 2014

it is so good...

...that your head might could explode.

buy a large pizza at the place on route nine in west brattleboro. it doesn't matter what kind. i like eggplant and some other thing because the eggplant they put on a pie is done just about perfect.

perfect, i tell you.

then drive it up to the hogback overlook and eat it there. by the time you get there the pizza is still hot but not hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth, plus you have a view.

holy honk.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

small potatoes

maybe you remember that earlier this year i had some potato vines come up in my living room.

well, yesterday i was kind of cleaning up some things as i was repacking the car to go off adventuring and i thought: maybe i will just pull up these dead potato vines.

and you know what? there were POTATOES! teeny, tiny little potatoes, cute as all get out and enough for maybe a half serving but they are MY potatoes, grown right in my own living room.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

hit pause

come home
pick up letters from tax department
more laundry
put feet up, rest knees
clean and waterproof shoes again
pack data
reload ipod

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

communal moose latrine

i was reading some articles recently about evidence that we are not the only species that uses a communal latrine.

certainly recently i have come across a communal moose latrine.

if you are traveling the cranberry peak trail between arnold's well and the summit, you pass through maybe a quarter mile of trail that is full up nearly ankle-high with what appears to be the accumulated shit of every moose in the district over a period of months.

i am kind of a fan of moose poop; when you look at the pellets the moose leave behind, you can tell how recently moose have been by, how often they come by, and a lot of other interesting things. because moose are kind of reclusive animals, often scats and tracks are your best indicators that moose are present with you in the woods.

in this case, however, all you really learn is that this section of trail is being used by a number of animals over a long period of time as a communal latrine. you learn that your idea of how much moose shit was possible to accumulate in one place before it disintegrates was wildly underestimated.

Monday, May 12, 2014

uninvited to the banquet

imagine that you can smell the food. you can see the table laid out, you can hear the crackle of the cooking, you can smell the delicious aromas wafting on the breeze, but you cannot get through the door.

the meal itself mocks you.

that's what it was like for the mosquitoes outside my car this morning.

i sleep in there with the windows down and the screens up.

yes, screens. you can buy a yard or two of nylon screen down at the hardware store an stick it to your car with some strong magnets and voila! you have screens.

sleeping is delightful like that.

and the mosquitoes congregate on the screens, looking for a way in.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

cranberry peak

today it is raining.

today i am going up cranberry peak.

the trail is 3.29 long. the average person takes four hours to make the trip up, and three to get down.

i move slowly.

i will be carrying all kinda emergency gear and a very good sammidge. it's going to be a long tiring day.

wish me luck.

see it on maps.

one man's trip

Friday, May 09, 2014

grey jay

so the other morning i stopped my car to repack my gear because even though it looks a mess in here, everything has to be in its place or i can't find ANYTHING, and all of a sudden there's a fluttering of wings, like when a bird is thinking of landing on your head.

we used to keep birds as pets when i was a kid, and i will tell you that there is a very distinctive look to how a bird moves when it is thinking of landing on your head. i never expect to see this behavior in wild birds.

so i'm minding my own business and this bird comes and almost lands on my head. i am apparently an object of some interest for this bird, since it circles up and lands on the handlebar of my bike. it then makes another try at landing on my head and instead perches on my car door window.

it watches me for a while from there and from the handlebar and then from a nearby tree branch and then it moves on. i learn later that
a lady in the neighborhood makes them little peanut butter sandwiches in the winter.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

kind of a one way conversation

hello, people who read my blog.

many of you also have blogs that i regularly read, although i sometimes don't comment much if i don't feel i have much to add to the conversation.

if you notice me missing, it is because i'm not reading any of my RSS feeds while i'm up here in the maine woods.

i just don't have that kind of time to park at the library and use the internet in my car. i mean, i COULD sit here for hours and hours and if it was raining horribly i might do it, but the point of coming up here and living in my car is to go play in the outside, so i check my email, process a few photos, catch up on a little of the games i play, and then i scoot along and go do outdoorsy things.

bit by bit i will have pictures and stories for you but right now i'm out doing things.

so yeah, i do wonder how life is for you in the pacific northwest. i wonder how your gardener is doing. i wonder how things are at blackrock. i wonder how your dog is and what crazy people you had to talk to on the phone. i hope your cats are getting along.

i'm just not catching up on the reading for a while.

but i'll be back.

carry on.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

crossing the border

awright. so some days ago i was on my way to eustis, maine (go look it up for yourself) and i took a little side trip on the way that had me heading north on route three.

now, here's a thing about travel in this area of the US: route 3 ends up in canada. route 27 (which is the next north-south road over) ends up in canada. route 201 ends up in canada.

you can't actually cross over from route 3 to route 27 or from route 27 to route 201, (well, you CAN, but only if you like going ten miles an hour on roads that may or may not be washed out or gated shut do for practical purposes you can't) but if you cross over into canada it's no longer trackless wilderness and there are paved roads and towns, because once you cross the border, people actually live there.

so. this side, moose and miles and miles of wilderness. that side, paved roads, farms, and charming villages.

the canadian border guard totally gets why you decided to detour into canada to save time.

the us border guard, not so much, even though he probably TOTALLY lives in stratton and knows why you went through canada, because border guards come in two flavors: regular people who just want t decent job, and hatwipes who like to wear a uniform and boss people around.

i was thinking why so many border guards are in that second category, and i think i have arrived at the conclusion that you have a lot of career choices if you just want a decent job, but if you want to put on a uniform and push people around, you tend to gravitate toward jobs like prison guard or border patrol where you get to do things to people who are at your mercy and you don't have to answer to anyone for it.

the canadian border guard asked me a LOT of questions, but i sort of got the feeling that it was a slow day and he was having a good time with me. he was nice enough, but he asked WAY more personal questions than i'm comfortable being asked, but it's their country and they have the right to turn me back if they don't want me to come in. it was friendly, though, and he made chitchat with me about his uncle and camping and such.

so then he runs my EDL to see what  databases i might appear in, and he came back out and told me that i score double zero. he pleasantly explains that this means i am not in either of the giant databases of undesirables of different degrees, and also that there are surprisingly few people with my last name in either of those databases.

i am not surprised by it; mine is a fairly uncommon last name except in some small clusters.

my double zero score makes me feel more confident coming back into the US.

the US border guard is entirely less pleasant. he wants to know what exactly i have in my car (it is full to the brim with camping gear and athletic equipment). he wants to know exactly where i plan to be camping. it is not ok with him that i'm going to camp in eustis on the PRL parcel somewhere. he wants to know WHERE.

you can't know that, because the sites are first-come-first served. since this man probably LIVES in eustis, there is no reason for him to press this issue except because he CAN.

the conversation goes on like that.

let's just say he's not happy that i don't actually know the names of the internet acquaintances i intend to visit. i know them as "kayaking loon", ok? as far as they're concerned, my name is flask.

used to be they asked you if you had anything to declare and asked a couple of questions to check who you are and check you out a little. but you had the right of free travel.

now everyone is a suspect, and if the DHS had their way they'd have checkpoints everywhere instead of just in the civil-rights-free zone near the borders. so now you are a criminal suspect if you want to go to quebec or new brunswick.

good job, gubmint.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

eek! meese!

these two hang out on the long corner bridge most every morning.

Monday, May 05, 2014

campsite in eustis

flask, i hear you mutter, isn't it may? aren't you supposed to be off in some god-forsaken wilderness having adventures?

why yes. yes i am.

yes, i did leave my snug little home to go live in my car for a couple of weeks. later on i will have more things to tell you, but for now i will just post for you a video of the road to eustis and some photos at and near my campsite.

a word about the video: in it i say i was crossing back into the US from new brunswick, but really it was quebec. i didn't particularly plan to get to eustis by way of canada, but i took a little side trip and if you look at a map you will see that people actually live on the canadian side of the border and there are roads there, so if you go through canada it saves you about an hour and a half on the trip if you don't get held up at customs.

view near campsite view of campsite view from campsite evening view from bed morning view 

(blech. yahoo, in an attempt to be more with it, has changed flickr's function AGAIN. note to yahoo: everybody loves flickr. nobody likes yahoo. keep yahoo-ing up flicker and people will learn to hate flickr. also, google, give up on G+. it was interesting when you started it because it was a nice facebook alternative for those of us who hate facebook, but then you kept changing it to have more of the things we hate about facebook. plus! even more odious "features".)

 if you want to see the pictures full size, you can go here.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

drug testing

i want to start by telling you my bias right off the bat: i do not use drugs or approve of drug use. i'm talking about recreational drugs. i also do not approve of mandatory drug testing.

i'm thinking about it because the supreme court recently refused to hear florida governor rick scott's appeal of a lower court ruling that he could not force all government employees into drug testing.

i'm against drug testing for employment, even for truck drivers and pilots and such.

but flask, i hear you saying, don't those people need to come to work unimpaired? how will we protect the public from drivers and pilots and heavy machinery operators who are on drugs?

yes, we do need those people to show up to work unimpaired an alert. i am going to suggest that if our primary interest is public safety, those people and people in similarly sensitive jobs should not be subjected to random drug testing, but alertness and dexterity testing every day they work, at the beginning of every shift.

there are a lot of reasons people might be unfit for work, including illness and fatigue.

can't pass your test today? you don't fly, don't drive. take a rest day. no penalty. too many failed tests and you might need to have drug testing or some medical testing, but overall, you get better safety without an invasion of privacy.

i do not care what competent adults do with their own bodies on their own time. i want people in sensitive jobs to be safe.

if it's about safety and not about trying to force other people into certain behaviors, we'd be testing for fitness and not randomly testing for certain substances.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

crimes against nature

i saw an article (an article-let? a clickbait?) about states in which  consensual oral sex is illegal but necrophilia is, apparently, just fine.

in most states that do not define necrophilia as being strictly illegal, they have some kind of statute about "crimes against nature" which they somehow think is a clear legal concept and universally understood.

so i think what we OUGHT to do is prosecute people for "crimes against nature", like fouling a water supply, or mismanagement of herd population, or deforestation of sensitive land.

you know, ACTUAL crimes against nature.

if you pay attention to animal behavior at all, you learn more and more that homosexual sex, rape, torture, and necrophilia are not particularly unnatural or even uncommon out in nature, so it's going to be harder to use the term "crimes against nature" to define daintily sexual acts between people that your legislature does not like unless your legislature wants to get in thee and actually use words that mean something.

otherwise, i am going to suggest very strongly that we hold those words to their meanings, i.e., crimes against nature. which as far as i'm concerned, is stuff that careless or mailicious people do against the natural world.

at any rate, it ought to make for interesting hearings.

Friday, May 02, 2014

the wrong metrics

the government uses the wrong metrics to gauge the health of the economy.

for instance, new housing starts.

you can start all the new construction you want, but the only thing that shows the health of is the owners of construction firms. it does not take into account how many of the new construction starts will be occupied nor does it take into account renovation of existing buildings.

a better indicator of a healthy economy would be the percentage of residents who can afford decent or even basic housing.

similarly, how wall street is doing doesn't tell us much about how main street is doing.

wall street is doing fine.

so are food pantries.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


i was all excited about this year's Month of MAYhem Blogging Challenge™, but as i started to think about it, i realize i have spent a great deal of time shaking things up for causes that matter to me, and a couple years of actual protests against actual things has worn me down a little.

it's not that i've lost my sense of humor, but if you want people to take seriously your protest, it helps if you're not that crazy person who does weird things.

so here's a kind of truncated list of things you might do for your Month of MAYhem™:

1) choose a language invented by someone else. for just one day, write all your communications in that language. or just your blog post. the rest of us won't know the difference. it's funnier if you try to communicate with the government in a constructed language, like idiotish, which is their native tongue anyway.

2) write to your senators and congressmen every week. it's just a month. you can do it.

3) bake something nice for the guys on your town's road crew. all right, buy them donuts if you're not handy in the kitchen.

4) go onto public land at night with a flashlight and make a survey of amphibians. report your findings on your blog and to any handy wildlife preservation group. bonus points if you have to explain yourself to the police.

5) find out which mass surveillance techniques your town is using and make your findings public. paranoia about government surveillance is not just for the tinfoil hatters anymore.

6) get a half dozen five dollar bills and go door to door in a strange neighborhood and give them to people for no reason at all. if pressed to declare a reason, tell them to have a nice day.

7) pick a random person from the phone directory. call them to see if they're at home. if they are, order a pizza to be delivered to their house. this is only funny if you pay for the pizza. remember, paid-for pizza  = funny / unpaid-for pizza = harassment.

8) go to a public place and shout STOP LOOKING AT ME! write about your results.

9) along with several of your friends, drive up and down the street your local police station is on AT OR JUST BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT. do this for as many hours as you can spare.

10) you know those magnetic decals people put on their cars? switch 'em around a little. don't steal 'em or even change anybody's displayed political affiliations. just move 'em from one side of the car to a different side.  let those people scratch their heads.

11) you get tracked through your online search history. search for things you're not interested in, just to throw monkey wrenches. today i googled "online explosive sales", "knitting supplies", "tactical weapons", and "penis toothbrush" sadly, this last thing exists.

12) start a religion. develop and practice faith tenets and rituals and see if you can write or adopt something as holy scripture.  practice this thing until it is a "sincerely held religious belief", which will come in handy later on when you want license to do anything and the law doesn't go your way.

13) shave off a tiny sliver from the middle of one of your eyebrows. it will make you look slightly off-balance and most people will not be able to figure out why.

14) have coffee or lunch with someone you only just met.

15) correct people's grammar. all day long. bonus points if you correct the principal of your child's school.

16) stand at a busy intersection with a sign that says: WHERE SHOULD I GO NEXT? keep standing there until someone gives you a suggestion. then go there.


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