Sunday, November 18, 2012

Irony, Illustrated

If eccept means fail, then, yes, you have eccepted the challenge of the TAKS test.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Marijuana Now Legal in Colorado, Unless it Isn't

This is what the world’s coming to. Back in my day, we didn’t
expect handouts from anyone—we had to
work for our weed.

Perhaps somewhat lost in the tumult accompanying last week’s reelection of President Barack Obama was the passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana and left the entire state feeling somewhat stunned that it was more pot-friendly than Oregon.

Well, Amendment 64 sort of legalized marijuana, anyway. Marijuana—or “dope,” as it was called by cool kids a million years ago—is still illegal according to the United States government, and while we did pretty poorly in our tenth-grade Government & Law class, we’re reasonably certain that Colorado was the sixty-eleventh state admitted into the Union, and is thus in some small way affected by the United States government. So in a way that only Erwin Schrödinger—or perhaps a lesser but more thoroughly stoned physicist—could truly appreciate, marijuana use in Colorado is simultaneously legal and illegal.1

This Amendment’s passage sets up a potentially lengthy and involved showdown between the federal government and a local governor less than thrilled to be backing the new law.2 Furthermore, the amendment, having received more than 1.3 million votes of support, may fundamentally alter the age-old stereotype of marijuana users from shiftless, lazy, slacker potheads to motivated, politically involved activists who may or may not remember how they ended up in this voting booth, or why the ballot is watching them.

One place in Denver, Colorado, that sells pot.

In the twelve years since Colorado passed Amendment 20, which legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in the state, the federal government has done little to affect the drug’s expanding availability, which may have fed the public support for this year’s Amendment 64.

It remains to be seen whether the government lacks the manpower or funding to deal with the potential legal quagmire, or is simply not interested in doing so, but for the time being, Colorado is the place to be for the discerning smoking aficionado interested in breaking somewhat fewer laws than usual.

That one place in Boulder, Colorado, that doesn’t sell pot.

In a completely unrelated development, applications to the University of Colorado–Boulder have risen by 32,150% over the last six days. Experts attribute the increase to the popularity of skiing, and young people’s love of John Denver.

This photo of Boulder was taken at 4:20. We don’t know
what this means, though, because we’re pretty square.

1. It’s probably too much to hope for, but if that humble sentence can someday at least momentarily boggle the mind of a reader who’s recently toked up, we’ll consider this entire blogging enterprise to be a success.
2. It might be ironic that Governor Hickenlooper has reservations about legalizing a drug that sometimes makes people do stupid shit, given that he made good money selling people beer—but we’ll leave that discussion for another day, or somebody else’s column.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Over Now. So Please, If You Would, Be Quiet.

One of these guys absolutely and definitively will—or did—ruin (or save) the
United States of America. But for some reason the lunatics on the other side decided to
reward him (or punish him) for it—whichever one makes them seem more like lunatics.

Yes, the Presidential election is over, and yes, you now get—or are stuck with—four exciting or devastating years of the President who will either save or destroy everything good left in this country, depending on which half of the population you’re willing to casually dismiss as stupid, hateful, and/or evil in order to make the world seem just the way you’ve already decided it is.

But now that it’s all settled, we have a novel suggestion:

Why don’t we all just keep quiet for a while? 

The following people could use a break:
  1. folks who are aware that your candidate is full of shit.
  2. folks who are aware that both candidates are full of shit.
  3. folks who are aware that their own candidate is full of shit.

So seethe or rejoice all you want, but for the sake of decency and whatever remains of our tattered national sanity and our ability to interact like thoughtful grown-ups,1 please do it quietly.

And please, above all, keep your opinions off the internet for a while. It’s already the world’s angriest, stupidest, most irrational place; adding political opinions absolutely does not improve matters. Ideally, we’d like to see folks voluntarily keep their political opinions off the internet forever, but we know that’s asking a lot, so we’ll accept a measly four years of silence if we can get it.

Thanks for your time. We look forward to hearing from you never again.

1. If you think we still have the ability to interact like thoughtful grown-ups, you haven’t spent much time on the internet. Trust us, you’re better off keeping it that way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Food for Thought as you Head to the Voting Booth


“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
 —JOHN ADAMS, statesman, diplomat, Aldrin to George Washington’s Armstrong

“It is a greater thing to be a good citizen than to be a good Republican or a good Democrat.”
—GIFFORD PINCHOT, guy you’ve probably never heard of

“Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
—GEORGE ORWELL, English novelist and journalist

“Party leads to vicious, corrupt and unprofitable legislation, for the sole purpose of defeating party.
—JAMES FENIMORE COOPER, American novelist

“There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.  
—BENJAMIN DISRAELI, nineteenth-century British Prime Minister

“I find myself  . . . hoping a total end of all the unhappy divisions of mankind by party-spirit, which at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few.
—ALEXANDER POPE, eighteenth-century English poet

“I hate all politics. I don't like either political party. One should not belong to them—one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking.”  
—RAY BRADBURY, American novelist

“The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly on what should be said on the vital issues of the day.”
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, twenty-sixth President of the United States of America

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
—GEORGE WASHINGTON, dollar bill guy

“I was no party man myself, and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them.”
—GEORGE WASHINGTON, welcoming you to the Hall of Presidents

All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.”
—JOHN ARBUTHNOT, Scottish physicist, mathematician, and satirist

We would add: “. . . but not nearly fast enough.” 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being Right: Not Always the Same as Being Smart

When my wife is asked what it’s like being nine years younger than her husband,1 she likes to say that
 “People think he’s robbing the cradle, but actually I’m robbing the grave.”

It’s a good line and she delivers it well, with a happy, sunny bounce to her voice that rarely fails to get a laugh. It’s the kind of thing that one doesn’t expect to hear from a genuine graverobber, who in our experience tend to be generally unpleasant people.

Not the most practical way to find a date . . .
but, hey, times are tough all around.

While our age gap rarely comes up as an actual problem worth discussing, it often becomes the basis of good-natured teasing, such as when I injure an old-mannish part of me (a hip, for example) playing hockey, getting slowly out of bed, or chasing kids off our lawn; or when she struggles to identify artifacts such as LP records, typewriters, and rotary phones,2 or wants to know what life was like before automobiles.

Your humble author, ca. 1895.

The age gap does seem to be a bit harder on me, though, not just because I’m more elderly and thus an easier, slower target, but also because, frankly, I’m not too bright.

Some years ago—I won’t say exactly how many—Some Gal turned twenty-five. She was in a funk for much longer than I had learned to expect her to be down about anything,3 so finally I asked what was eating her. Clearly (in hindsight) upset about having rushed through the first five years of her twenties, she answered with a slump in her shoulders and voice:

“I’m halfway to thirty.”

My immediate response—the mathematical part of my brain obviously moving much faster than the part that doles out common sense—was:

“What are you talking about? You’re halfway to fifty.”

I suspect that by the time I live this down, she’ll be halfway to ninety. Maybe older than that, since I’m dimwitted enough to have put it in writing so it’ll be harder to forget.

1. In case you’re struggling to keep up, my wife’s husband is me. While we tend to use the first-person plural here at Bowling in the Dark, referring to our wife’s husband as “us” would be be confusing at best, and at worst might inadvertently generate discussion about polygamy and the constitutional definition of marriage, and I/we/Gaia are particularly interested in not having that discussion here.
2. I’m making a lot of this up because she’s probably not going to read this.
3. Probably twenty or thirty minutes. She’s pretty upbeat.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bowling in the Dark's Endorsement for President of the United States:

Montgomery Brewster, pitcher, Hackensack Bulls


A platform we can get behind:

 “I wanna thank you for coming out today . . . to see to it that neither my opponents nor me win the election. I wanna ask the question:
Q. Whos buying the booze?  
A: [Montgomery Brewster.]

Q: Who’s buying the food? 
A: [Montgomery Brewster.]

Q: And whos trying to buy your vote? 
A: [Technically everybody, but also Montgomery Brewster.]

Q: And who you’re gonna vote for? 
A: None of the above! 

Q: Say it again! 
A: None of the above! 

Q: Let me hear it one more time! 
A: None of the above! 

Yeah, sure, we’ve all heard that one before.