Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mushrooms for the Memories

It didn't rain enough on the farm to get a good mushroom 'crop' very often, but you can be sure that when we did, we didn't waste the opportunity.
Of course the mushrooms didn't all grow in the one spot and we drove around different paddocks, looking in all the likely places. We'd pick so many that we couldn't possibly eat them all ourselves and I remember one season offering some to the local minister.
The only type of fungus that seemed to grow in the district was the common mushroom - the type that we gorged - and the toadstool, which one could never mistake.

It is disappointing now to see them growing on the side of the track home and watching them quickly turn black and inedible. Do the same people who ignore this bounty from nature, turn around and pay a premium at their local greengrocer for this 'meat for vegetarians'? It seems passing strange as they are quite delicious eaten straight from the ground when they first sprout.

I thought that maybe people were just unobservant but then I noticed some at the back of University where I work, growing right near the benches where we eat our lunch. By the time I spotted this clump, they had already gone off. What a shame.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nutt job

Ah, yet another expert gets the chop for saying what anyone with a real clue already knows; that cannabis is far less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol. Among those with genuine integrity and decidedly less ignorance than the average punter, the 'drug debate' has become a source of perpetual tedium as the official spokesmen teeter between poorly thought out smokescreens and cynically submerged detail.

I am on my own experiment with marijuana: I'm not smoking it. For three months. Go ahead, 'social' drinkers and ciggy-break takers; binge eaters and pill poppers, put your money where your mouth is and prove you can do the same.

Thought not.


Now that's off my chest, we return to normal programming. I can understand why British PM Gordon Brown dismissed his scientific advisor, Professor David Nutt, for stating that marijuana should not have been reclassified from a Class C to a Class B drug. Not because he [Brown] was correct to do so, nor because it deserves to be so, but because he is fighting for his political life and playing to the peanut gallery - the kind of people who think the War on Drugs has value - is one more desperate effort to keep his job.

I am intrigued to see that Professor Nutt has also classed ecstasy and LSD as being less harmful than the legal mainstays. I imagine this may be worked out on a per capita basis, and the effect these substances have on the majority being of sound mind. Though I have to say, the mentally defective are going to have problems with medication of any description; it's the nature of the illness. 'What do we take them off, what do we put them on?' is a question for health professionals, not a factor in determining drugs policy.

Infringing on people's right to self-medicate, and to open the doors of perception, is not the only area where government engages in perpetual policy on the run, of course. Expediency rules. As long as the tabloids can sensationalise the issue and the politicians can make capital out of being tough, little will change.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Bilderberger chains

A friend put me on to The Obama Deception. It hurt watching it as Obama is all the things Bush jr is not; an intelligent speaker, architect of a broad and inclusive program of social change, literate and knowledgeable, and seeming to be holding the banks and corporations to account. He's made all the right noises about the farce that is the Iraq War, right from the outset, and has been consistent in his condemnation of renditions and imprisonment without trial in offshore internment camps.
But this film shows that the rhetoric and the reality are two different things. Part of me thought it was too good to be true - when have governments every pursued an agenda in the people's interests? - but it is profoundly disappointing nonetheless.