Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sexual Neuroanatomy

Table 25-1 Sexual Neuroanatomy: substructures and theororetical behavioral correlates (Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury, Chapter 25, Sexual Dysfunction, Nathan D. Zasler MD and Michael F. Martelli, PH.D)

Neuroanatomical Neuroanatomical Theorized Behavioural Correlate
Structure Structure

Cortical Piriform Nucleus Modulation of drive, initiation and
Frontal Lobes and sexual activation
Temporal Lobes

Subcortical Hippocampus Modulation of sexual behaviours
Amygdala and genital responses
Septal Complex

Brainstem Reticular Activating Maintenance of arousal and alertness
System and conduit for information
Afferent input
Efferent output

Peripheral Nervous Autonomic Genital sexual function
System Sympathetic

This pretty well indicates that sex is in your head and that it is a nervous condition. It also suggests that alone it's a very complex task even for the brain so theoretically it shouldn't be surprising that it's complexity increases with involvement with others. Once that happens there's politics and worse government. And as we all might guess government is about promises and then every attempt under the sun to collect the pay without actually doing the work. So sex is heady stuff and one shouldn't be mindless about it though given the mental baggage most people carry around with them it would be good if they could lighten up. Especially with age, given what gravity does to all the external sensory working apparatus. Candlelight helps in old age especially after massage by grape feeding nubile young people in wealthy vacation resorts after weeks of just lying around on the beach and getting prepared for the sexual event. It really doesn't matter much what the sex is then as it serves to break the monotony of relaxation. Familiarity breeds contempt. It's best to treat one's partner as a stranger and clearly dementia may prove beneficial for sexual arousal. If one is mentally saying, oh God, here they go again, with that maneuver, and now they're going to do that thing next, it really isn't conducive to frollicking. The utter boredom expressions and grimacing, are somewhat counterproductive to the sexual act. Feigning amusement is far better. It helps with masturbation as well as consensual sex.

That said it is to be remembered that the praying mantis female consumes her mates head at orgasm suggesting that their might be benefits to a headless partner. To date no opinion poll has been completed by a male praying mantis so we can only conjecture regarding his 'feelings' about the situation. Couples commonly close their eyes to have private fantasies while alcohol and drugs for one or the other simulates the praying mantis experience.

Shakespeare called it the "two backed beast". Today, thanks to advances in neurosciences, we might well call it the two headed human.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Museums and Grandchildren

Laura has a new grandson. So we just had to take the Harley for a trip out to the valley to visit him. He's really a keeper. We stopped at the railway museum in Agazziz but even though it's a really terrific museum, Laura obviously didn't find it as entertaining as her new grandson.

SV GIRI Welded

The SV GIRI is once again whole. The bottom has been welded so that no more dreams are leaking out. The compression pole which holds up the mast has been replaced with a new and stronger one welded in it's place. Tom, with angelic halo and angels singing hosannas in the background said, "The guiding principle was to make her stronger where she'd broken. If she breaks now it will be somewhere else." Barry, who has his welding shop in Mosquito Creek did the final wand work. With a mixture of magic and miracles the GIRI is being restored to her previous glory.


CAA – West Coast – Social
All the usual suspects were there. Margaret (“Just Mary”) Hume, now working on her WW II Lancaster pilot father’s memoirs, did presidential duty keeping the writer rabble in check with tinkling glasses. I was all puckered up before I realized this was her ‘symbol’ for quiet, not kissing. Mumford tried to set me straight later knowing the confusion I and most writers have with ambiguous sexual metaphors.
Anthony Dalton of “Ghost Ship”, stepped up to present Frank Wade the Sangster Award for most CAA contribution. Frank admitted he probably deserved the award because he was the member who had been involved in the CAA for the most years. While the plaque was admirable, surviving decades of writers struck me as more fitting of a medal.
The White Spot food and service was as usual very good but the conversation was the best. When I asked the gentleman across from me which Navy he’d served in, he said,”the British, you know, the one with ships and guns and such.” He was with Poetess Kay who read a poem of confession of her Imelda addiction and frustration now that she was advised to wear ‘sensible shoes”. Jan from Bowen Island, a young man in his 90’s, recovering from surgery recited a love poem which had all the ladies swooning. Ben Nuttall Smith read a great tale of witches and children from Chameleon Sings his autobiographical book.
That’s when Margaret Lawrence appeared, just as Perry was reading from her latest novel. She stood in the corner with a smile on her face. Then Stephen Leacock appeared beside her followed by Robertson Davies. Not everyone saw them. “Sometimes characters from novels appear as well,” an author told me. “We had that fat girl from that early Margaret Atwood novel but she seemed mostly interested in the food. The others like seeing the tradition being passed along. “ The readings ended and the watchers were gone. Just like that.
Some fool played a shrunken guitar and sang hoarse and off key, something about wanting a bail out and “Lost a trillion.” It’s a tolerant group. Highly encouraging of others they’re forever rewriting and editing their own works. And when that’s not sufficient masochism they turn to the resident editor Bernice Lever (“Colour of Words”) who read Generations from her latest book of poetry. She’s always happy to put on her black editor’s corsette , don a pair of Kay’s old spike heeled (not sensible) boots and whip her way through an author’s new book while they shout with piggish glee. An odd group indeed
That was the meeting. A young UBC student sat next to a UBC professor emeritus plotting mystery. The writers who returned from the Toronto MagNet conference did a collective ‘glow’. Announcements of the Victoria Harbour View Can Write Conference in June next year were made. Patrick Taylor will be attending. Then the meeting broke up into the typical author shenanigans of table dancing, ghost stories and card tricks. It was all the White Spot staff could do to get them out of the building. They still lingered in conspiratory groups in the parking lot. All in all it was a good meeting. Very civilized and Canadian. No brawls or food fights. Yet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

12 Years Clean and Sober

I just returned from Strathcona Men's AA group. 12 years. We gather to share our experience, strength and hope. And laugh and eat cake.

On Sickness

With cough wracking body
Tearing out bits of larynz with hostile bugs
The size of microscopic cockroaches,
Fire breathing dragons,
Joints individually twisted in some medieval
Torture machine .
Nose the source of all swamps and swamp things:
You are not on my mind, love.
I do not traipse poetic with lust or love.
I long not to live,
Care not to reproduce ,
Beg instead for the mercy of death and release,
Hope to wake in another world devoid of politicians,
Taxmen, war , and television tampon commercials.
My mind becomes miserly giving out only
Memories of negativity
Despite my rational thought there must have been
At least one day, this lifetime of woe, to be thankful for.
But no. I am Job.
My God and the Devil
Play games with my life, testing my loyalty
And mock my inferiority.
As my guts burn and my heart aches.
You, my love, look more a source of transplant organs
Than something beautiful and refined and loving.
I asked for a priest, begged you to bring him quick for last rites
And instead you brought that quack
Who said this was the latest flu and it would be through in days.
What does a modern doctor know of Time.
My sickness lasts eternity
For I am suffering unto death.
A common cold is ignomy for my royal hypochondriacal blood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

History of Alcohol

Alcohol exists independent of man and in deed pre dates the history of man. A cloud of alcohol surrounds a star in the Aquila Galaxy, 10 thousand light years away. (Rockerbie, p1)

The discovery of late stone age beer mugs suggests alcohol was purposely fermented as early as 10,000 years ago and may have preceded bread. (wikipedia)

Around 7000 BC wine jars called Jiahu are found in China. Egyptians fermented wine by 4000 BC. Mead, fermented honey and water was popular in Greece by 2000 BC.

Alcohol by distillation was first called Al Kohl and developed by Arabian alchemists.Al Kindi (801-873) unambiguously described distillation of wine.

Whiskey, distilled grain was first recorded in Ireland and Scotland in the 1400's.

Dom Perignon developed champagne around 1668.

In 1700's the British had a Gin Epidemic and later passed legislation to limit the consumption after previously passing legislation to encourage increased production.

The Puritans carried more beer than water on the Mayflower.

In the 18th century temperance movements began in America with the beginning of the American Temperance Society 1826.

By 19th Century problems of urban crime, poverty and infant mortality were blamed on alcoholism.

Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935.

A July 27, 2007 report uncovered heavy alcohol use by NASA astronauts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Week

http://www.oneweek.ca/ One Week, directed by Michael McGowan, is a really good Canadian movie. I'd hoped for more National Geographic but instead got more in depth discussion of death and relationships. It's about a man (Joshua Jackson) whose told he has cancer and decides to drive across Canada on a motorcycle considering treatment and his recent engagement to his fiance (Liane Balaban). It's an 850 Norton, probably the one I crashed 20 years ago, restored for this movie. The Stanley Cup and Banff play key roles. Toronto to Tofino, it leaves out eastern Canada but nonetheless I'm wanting to drive my Harley across Canada every minute of the way. Hell's Gate Tunnel is featured and reminds me of how I got air bourne going through that hitting a poor road repair. I thought about the Che motorcycle movie in South America but it wasn't anything like Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider. Canadian's are too clean cut, sensitive and intellectual for that kind of action. It's just a really good movie.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Defiance, directed by Edward Zwick, starring Daniel Craig and Liev Scrieber is based on the book:Defiance, the Bielsky Partisans written Nechama Tec. It is the true story of Jewish brothers who rescued Jews from extermination and fought the Nazis in Poland. Saving 1200 by the end of the war, these Jewish combat partisans survived in the forest for 2 years hunted by Nazis. http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/bielski.html An extraordinary historical movie with heart wrenching drama and profound insights. Undoubtedly the finest partisan movie I've ever been priviledged to see.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Squamish Nation War Canoe

A new Squamish War Canoe was lauched in Mosquito Creek today.

Giri Boat Work Crew

The Giri Boat Work Continues with losses and additions to the crew. Laura arrived and got right down to varnishing saying, "it's really not different from doing your nails, is it Tom?." Graham headed out with the inaugural run of a new Squamish Nation war canoe. Then Bob arrived on his Harley. The real fun though was the executive lunch.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Real Worth

I am worth more than this.
(But this is good:
Worse could be a dangling limb
Instead of participle).

The Authorities are no longer authors
but plagiarists of hack Hollywood soap.
Where are the visionarires?
Too long we've been lead by the deceitful promises
Of low brow bean counting businessmen grovelling in their own spew of self interest.

We are worth more than this.
(But this is good:
Worse could be cannibalism
Instead of corporatism)

Leadership is not a spin doctor take on an opinion poll
Going nowhere for the price of guns and whores and drugs.
Leadership is an answer of world peace, universal food, clothing, shelter,
Health and intergallactic communication with life on other planets while
Valuing the life of our forests and oceans and desserts.
Leadership is a poetry contest in the dead of night in an igloo village.
Leadership is a city on the moon, not a weapons platform.

You are worth more than this.
(But this is good: Worse could be another of your bipolar infantile
Temper tantrums or pouts, depressions or wars, instead of puerile politics.)

The good is the enemy of the best
And these are the good old days.
Let the best come today.
We would not need a miracle if you'd stop your silly cowardly killing.
Levitation, telepathy, fusion power, and all the other once imagined possibilities
Would be ours if we would only remember.

The best is yet to come.
I heard the fat lady sing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giri Boat Work Continues

Tom and Graham removed the septic tank after it stopped spewing Canadian political speeches. It now resides in a dumpster. I pity the dumpster divers. The V Berth of the GIRI is cleaned to the metal and specs of light shine through singing Harry Belafonte's "There's a hole in the bucket". Soon new welded steel will shut the cheeky devils up.

Sun UP Cat

Sun up, the cat's meow, paws slapping at face
Where went the cat who slept though days with me in winter
Can her kitty chow she often ignores be so much better this day
Why yes, it's spectacular. The dawn always is.
A promise and a miracle. Repetition no science alone can create.
Why I would ask but knowing the answer laugh at myself
As the cat trips me on the way to the loo
Waste, waste and more waste. I would give up food and drink
Altogether to be done with this time of toiletry.
The cat is delighted I have flushed the toilet
She finds joy in simple things
Would you drink so quickly after stranger's piss and flush
As she does after mine.
She probably knows I think her gross
And hopes to excite me with her earthiness
The shower is heavenly. The man who invented in door plumbing
No doubt to please a mistress or to forego beheadding by a king
Is surely knighted in some heavenly throng
Feb grapes by young boys and girls clothed in little else but fans
His boat fares better than mine in the imagination
I will not think of work while I wait the glory of coffee
The city is pretty. And she purrs by my leg to remind me
This was her gift. I'd have gladly slept till the alarm.
She's smug, the runt. Furry little unperson.
This apartment is clean and fresh for a change
A lovely woman vacuumed up the dandruff of this cat
That licks herself and claims it's not her mess I'm for ever in
I pay through horrid labour to keep her in his high rise west end
No doubt a portal to some alien cat world that's the place of parties
While I slave to pay the rent
It smells nice today. She licks herself removing the evidence of where I
chucked her under cat chin. She allowed it but now demonstrates her
second thoughts about me, existence and the way things ought to be
But my skin feels clean and the smell of soap is happy in my nose
This coffee with honey and canned milk is God's own elixer
There are dragons to be slain and damsels to be rescued and
Windmills galore but I will savour this moment
Joyful if that's possible for these ever aching bones.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Call me in the morning

You should call me in the morning
If we have another day
It's been that sort of season
When I really couldn't say

It's not that this is atypical
But today was just that sort
Of unmittigated disaster
That makes life a bloody blood sport!

I'm not so into blood you know
As the wine and cracker kind
But I'm hanging by my fingernails
And found I have no spine.

I'd pull myself up by my socks
And slime along to bed
If I wasn't so very blinded
By seeing only red.

And it started such a good day
The dawn was very fine
But it's petered out to nothing
But a sense of wasted time.

Were you a wayward stranger
And I a hero unsung
We'd tarry off to Mexico
And have a bit of fun.

St. Paul's Indian Church

St. Paul's Indian Church is the oldest surviving Catholic Church in Vancouver. It just celebrated it's 125 th anniversary. Father Vincent La Plante is the priest serving this church and community. The Oblate Fathers established the Sacred Heart Mission for the Squamish Indians on the north shore (North Vancouver) of Burrard Inlet in 1863.
Tom and I, both admittedly needing all the help we can get, and quite open to divine intervention as worldliness has a way of undermining our best intentions, decided to check out this church that was overseeing our boat work in Mosquito Creek.
That's when we found out it was the Indian Church and mass was at 11 the next day. Tom was slightly reticent about attending. I think that always being Anglican he fears that all the beheadings of women that began our church will be personally attributed to him. Given the Catholics apologising to the Jews and the Haida apologising for eating the Kwakiutl ancestors, maybe the Anglicans, if they haven't already, might apologise for all their beheading one day. If only everyone would get down to asking forgiveness of their neighbour as a kind of "spiritual first strike", life could be a lot less offensive.
Being more ecumenical I've always felt welcome in the Catholic Community as my Anglican priest contends I'm at times fairly 'anglo-catholic" compared to Tom's 'evangelical anglicanism.'
The church was wonderful. The people were warm and the choir and Indian drums a joy. We were welcomed and uplifted and touched by the good heart of the community. Later we were invited for coffee but boatwork called.
When Graham our Catholic friend joined us to share his experience of baptism as an adult, the day became a discussion of the contributions of our religious upbringings to our personal views on politics and life. At times we even forgot that working men are supposed to be telling dirty jokes and talking about women disparaging.
Instead we all seemed to be having the highest sort of philosophical and theological discussions occasioned by our attending this very inspirational church. Given that we were working on the septic tank of the boat there was certainly need for blessed distraction.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Boat Septic Tank

The GIRI Septic Tank

Tom, Graham, Randy and I all gathered to pray. The GIRI Septic Tank had been with the boat before I had it. As my shit doesn't stink I blamed the previous owner. Maybe an errant guest ate alien burger. For a few years now I’ve not used the tank. I replaced it with an Electrosan Sewage Disposal System. Whatever was in the holding tank got forgotten. I’ve carried it with me through international waters for years. Whatever has been there has had a long time to percolate. And grow. And reproduce.

Today there was considerable speculation about black holes and night water. We considered alerting the university about the possibility of a new toxic Big Bang theory. When Tom began to cut around it with a saws all an instant exodus occurred. For awhile there as he used the side grinder, we all stood back with fire extinguishers thinking machine guns would have made more sense. What eventually came left Tom with the ability to glow in the dark. One splash of the waste bore clear through to China in seconds. If I’d been thinking economically I’d have sold the thing to the military. Before passing out Tom emptied a bottle of chorox into the thing. Graham argued for iodine. Randy had long gone claiming a desire to live. I was working outside the boat claiming the teak sanding was a high priority.

That the earth and galaxy still exist today seems likely a miracle. Billions don't know how close they came to annihilation. We figured the prayer saved the planet. If I hear from Tom and Graham in the morning I will be reassured. I did tell them that they probably shouldn’t consider having children. Carrying the waste out in buckets won out over suctioning as no one would volunteer to start the suction.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Welding, Dad, the Holy Spirit and the Septic Tank

I've been thinking about welding alot. Steel is hard. Maybe as hard as a black heart. My dad, old cowboy that he was, used to say of my drug doing friends, "Bill, they're hard." I didn't know what he meant because I was young and knew it all at the time so didn't have to listen to a father. Only later did I begin to grasp the difference between 'closed hearted' or 'hard hearted' people and 'open hearted or soft hearted' people. Hard hearts are cowardly. It takes courage to be open hearted especially after being hurt. Dad and alot of his friends had been to war. Lost good friends and could have withdrawn from love. But he didn't. He didn't know the kids were on drugs but he knew that they had withdrawn from love.
Dad worked with steel. He was that ramrod straight sort of character. His friends called him 'fair'. He was gentleman too. I tried to emulate him before radical feminism and 'sharp' business practices of others and lack of police protection, 'clever' lawyers and self serving politicians caused me to modify my own modus operandi. The good men of my father's generation seem to have got mowed down by the 'new economics' (stealing) and post structualist philosophy (lying) and a few other minor changes to the world. I confess I cried in Clint Eastwood's Gran Turino because I saw my Dad and all the other good men I'd known growing up and realized how much I miss their honesty at times. Dad was also called a 'straight shooter'.
Now there's a weakness in the hull of my boat. Kind of like the weakness in the ship of state. Some good guys from Trinity are going to use welding torches to cut out the rusted area and join new steel to where the old is still good.
I think I got into chemistry first because I was fascinated how heat could cause matter to turn into gas. I was fascinated how something hard could become liquid and then disperse into the air. Obviously there's been many an opportunity to witness this in my own kitchen when cooking I forget and am reminded by the smoke.
Still here's welding. Hard material subject to heat, growing soft and healing and joining with good to form a solid repair.
It got me thinking how, given the sort of character I am, I only really start to pray earnestly when my feet are literally dangling in the cannibalistic soul destroying soup of Hell. Then quite miraculously my hard heart softens a little bit and I accept some help from above and soon I'm soaring on Eagle's wings with the Holy Spirit. And I'm a man of steel, indistructible, tough.
Maybe hell's a heavenly thing after all.
I sure am looking forward to this welding being done. I've been phoning my 91 year old dad daily giving him a play by play report of the carrying on. He's been laughing heartily at our mishaps and struggles to overcome inertia and bring order into the chaos of the physical world. He was always fixing things while mom was planting and pruning in the garden and us kids were more often than not breaking things and stealing carrots before they were full grown. Amazing the patience, tolerance and wisdom of those old people.
Today's task is removing the 25 year old full hardened septic tank from above where the welders will be working. The thought of adding heat to that little bit of hell itself gives new meaning to the idea of global warming. I suggested an axe to the floor but Tom has an idea that we'd better 'dispell the demons' more gingerly. We'd hate to crack pandora's box. The idea is to get it out whole and then see if NASA would be willing to ship it out to space on their next shuttle.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SV GIRI in Boatyard

Tom and Dave have been working all week at the boat. I've been at the office. They say a change is as good as a rest. Working power sanders and using screwdrivers is a change from computers. My arms are telling me that now. Dave began grinding the boat in the environmentally friendly plastic outhouse like attachment Tom made him out of 2x4's. Meanwhile Tom has had the the NDT guy around and using his ultrasound machine for measuring the width of metal has said there's lots of steel left on the old boat. However a, little welding wouldn't hurt none under the forward bilge. Welders from Trinity came by for inspection on Friday leaving Tom to clear the site for welding this coming Tuesday. He's literally torn out the fore cabin and head to access that area and opened up the area where the compression pipe broke. The roofs been jacked up and in the picture, he's looking at the new pole that Barry welded a base to. This is dropped inside the old hollow pole making it all a whole lot stronger. The mast will sit on top of this and when it's finished will be ready for Cape Horn not that I am.
I've showered off a day of saw dust and grime and am now ready for a night of solid rest. For a change!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sexuality and fMRI's and PET Scans

Sexuality and fMRI’s and PET scans

Maravilla et al Int J Imp Res 2007

Karama et al Hum Brain Mapp 2002

Haan et al Nat Neurosci 2004

Holstege et al J Neurosc 2003

Some people have all the fun. I've learned that even as we speak other doctors are making money bringing in couples and getting them to manually stimulate each other while the researchers are looking at their functional MRI.s and PET scans. No doubt this will give rise to a whole new genre of esoteric abstract pornography. The amygdala lights up more in men. Men and women present many similiar bilateral areas of activation: anterior cingulate, medial prefrontal, orbitofrontal,insular, occipitotemporal cortices, amygdala, and ventral striatum. Men activate the thalamus and hypothalamus proportionate to their excitement.

Well this gives me hope as a man. I'd learned that women had all this extra sensory wiring at their clitoris's which didn't seem fair as it gave them the potential for apparently multiple orgasms, prolonged orgasms and heightened orgasms. Now I see that men apparently have the capacity to think about this all much more and use more of their brains to address the matter which gives whole new meaning to why men would put a peephole into a college girl's shower room and women don't tend to get up to that sort of thing. I'd previously thought the economics of supply and demand applied here. Why have a peephole when you can get the whole football team but I see from this scan research women apparently need more direct stimuli whereas men can mentally at least wax poetic about the sighting of a bare ankle. This may further explain that saying about the best sex being in the mind.

Now even as we speak some other bloke wired wholly differently from myself is putting together a wall art video replay track of a brain orgasm and trying to sell it to Walmart to meet the Fourth of July sales.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Loving Spoonful

This year's fund raiser for A Loving Spoonful (http://www.alovingspoonful.org/ )really outdid itself. Held on Robson at the Pacific Palisades, women performed high ceiling acts on dangling scarfs to the astonishment of the passers by. Passing through the flashing cameras and applause, one entered a room of donated potters bowls and sophisticated jazz. The bowls to be taken home served to hold the delicious food that had been prepared in honour of this wonderful society that gives so generously to feed those who suffer from HIV and Aids.
It was terrific to see Sonny there. He's been involved with Loving Spoonful for 20 years. "It all started with a young man diagnosed with HIV being seen scrounging for thrown away food in a Vancouver laneway. The first organizers took him home to feed him saying this is no way for a person already stigmatized by this disease to have to live. Loving Spoonful began that night." Sonny volunteers every week taking food to the downtown eastside. He's just one of so many volunteers who give so much of themselves to their fellow men and women.
The silent auction and main auction donations were incredible. The finest art, jewelry, sculpture, pottery.
And such people watching. My God I thought I was in Montreal or New York the way the men and women dressed for the occasion. Far too fashionable and chic for the west coat and then some
I love the Loving Spoonful fund raiser events. Are you really supposed to have such a good time doing a good deed!

Early Morning Despair

Early morning despair

The voice says why go on

Betrayals, deceit, punishment, persecution

The litanies of self pity and old wounds

More and more the body takes the toll

I’m am prematurely aging for what, for who?

Escaping through molasses. Pulling away from the glue.

One shoe at a time.

I stagger towards you, Lord.

Be you Death or Light.



Monday, June 8, 2009

Marijuania: Legalization or Decriminalization

American drug policy involved four major approaches. One is the destruction of crops and sanctions against nations which produce drugs the US does not approve of.  Two is the stopping of drugs enterring the US itself.  Three is the criminal legislation of the drug users and drug sellers.  Four is the treatment of drug abusers.  
I was fortunate to attend a conference in which the billions spent on one and two were demonstrated as to have had no effect whatsoever on the actual usage in the US which has continued to grow. These 'supply side' approaches are a dismal failure if one looks at the drugs present in the community and the access and use of drugs itself.  
This "war on drugs" has however had an alternative purpose.  While it has done nothing for drug abuse in US it has however armed considerable numbers of US police and security forces. These same armed forces are now being used for the 'war on terrorism'. If their success in the war on drugs is any measure of their overall success then terrorism shall likely rise. It strikes me as an outsider as veiled totalitarism.   
Ironically, three, the arresting and punishing of drug users and drug dealers has resulted in more people jailed than at any time in the world in the once 'land of the free'.  Dope smoking hippies are incarcerated with rapist and murderers and child rapists and child murderers. This continues today despite Alice's Restaurant and countless other attempts at moving the US legal system out of the dark ages.  In Canada the situation is little better. 
Clearly drug dealers should be distinguished from end stage users and if tobacco salesmen, ie pharmacies, grocers  etc aren't going to be jailed then neither should marijuania smokers.  A tobacco salesman, ie your local store is a more deeply evil and disturbed psychopathic member of society than your average sick marijunia or tobacco smoker.  
The businessmen who pander to depravity and profit from sickness are at least lower on the evolutionary ladder.  Regulation is indicated if only to keep these predators in check.    
In this regard that's what 'decriminalization' means.  
Finally, treating alcoholics and addicts rather than punishing them, recognising that alcoholics and drug addicts are sick people not bad or evil people is the most successful approach to date to the drug and alcohol abuse problems.  
The trouble with legalization is simply that the more drugs or alcohol available the greater the per centage of abuse.  Let's for argument say 10 % of the population will abuse alcohol. Say other 10% will abuse coke and another 10% marijuania.  Despite the overlap that actually occurs the overall percentage of the population with abuse problems rises with availability.  Hence the benefits of laws that restrict usage.  
When I was in Amsterdam a few years back I was shocked that I couldn't find anywhere to sit without there being drugs evident.  I like eating in smoke free restaurants. I like coffeeshops where there's no marijuania.  The majority of people, from my point of view, are like me.  I like quiet too.  If drinking and drugging was allowed in libraries, for instance, it wouldn't be the drunks and drug addicts who'd want quiet.  I want the police to maintain the ability to pick up people who are 'drunken and disorderly'.  
Diversion is a marvellous coupling of the legal and medical model and it works amazingly well. This is where people caught abusing drugs or alcohol are 'diverted' to treatment models of care (the medical model) and "recovery" versus the traditional 'punishment' jail model.  Alcoholics who lose their licenses for driving  are required to attend AA meetings and despite the external force have a significant success staying off alcohol.  
Note that this is not 'legalization'.  Marijuania smokers and drug addicts like James Bond want a "license" to use.  Personally I understand why society has restrictions and accept that drugs of abuse should have restrictions. This is for the benefit of individuals at risk and society at large.  It doesn't refer to traffickers. Frankly I would simply fine traffickers out of business. I don't want to have taxes pay for them in jail.  In fact the drug dealers I knew were quite happy with the status quo because their profits were greatest now.  Indeed it almost seemed like they were in league with the legislators.  
As for treatment, it's highly effective.  Alcoholism and addiction are medical diseases which can be prevented and identified early enough to avoid the harm that abuse causes. There are effective treatments and a whole array of methods are available to help people to change their behaviours.  The earlier one intervenes the greater the success. 
I grow weary with those proponents who casually say it's a 'choice' because the evidence is that the brain is changed by addiction. Further I've seen a man with Gaucher's disease (vascular allergy to tobacco) lose all his fingers and toes before he could stop smoking. He didn't "want" toand he would choose to not if he was privileged as those who are quick to deny him medical services.   
So many of the major medical illnesses of today are recognised as 'diseases of lifestyle' including many heart diseases and lung diseases and cancers.  So if addiction is 'choice' so are they.  We don't jail obese people but instead we have a variety of treatments and we do give them new hip replacements when they exceed their load tolerance.  
So yes, decriminalize but legalization should probably wait till we've treated the last of the asthmas and lung cancers from the 'legalized' tobacco.  

Campbell River Baptist Church

Campbell River Baptist Church

260 South Dogwood Street Campbell River BC V9W 250-287-8831

 After a fine night at Discovery Inn,  I drove my Harley up Dogwood past the RCMP.  I suspect the nearby police keep the church folk in line when they get carried away singing Hallelulahs. 

Campbell River Baptist Church is a big and very beautiful new church.  A real community treasure.  Big hall for it’s large congregation and lots of basement room for young people and recreational activities. It runs the Christian School next door too.  

Barry greeted me making me feel welcome. He told me he was from Cumberland and he prayed daily that Jesus would help his town overcome the drug problem that was ravaging the children and young people.  One of the church leaders joined us and told me about the church’s Christian Recovery program they were organizing in conjunction with Nanaimo’s Edgewood Treatment Centre. 

I saw Bill Mewhort then as he headed back of the alter so I excused myself and followed him to the baptismal staging area.  We shook hands and hugged. “It’s real good of you to come.” he said. I gave him the NIV leather bound Bible I’d brought for the occasion. Then I left him to prepare himself. 

Baptism is a celebration for sure but a serious matter, nonetheless. Bill, in his late 70’s looked a bit like a groom before the wedding.

The band was incredible.  Praise music at it’s finest.  Voices and hearts uplifted.  A young dancer reminded me of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet students.  Such fine interpretation. 

Seven in all were baptised.  A video of each of them with their words of decision proceeded the whole body immersion. 

Raised Baptist I was taken back to childhood when I thought our pontificating minister seemed to forget he had a new member under water.  None of these came up looking like they needed CPR. In fact the young people were smiling.  Bill looked thankful.

Later the Lead Pastor, Randy Evans, presided over communion and the congregation joined in bread and grape juice.

At the end of the service  I joined Bill as everyone came over to congratulate him.  Agnes and I found ourselves reminiscing about our own baptisms which then reminded me of the time I swam in Jordan River 

The pastoral team included Stan Parker, Robin Martens, Mark Myles.  A lot of kids were present. Young people and old people and everyone happy. Someone invited us down stairs for burgers and salad.  There Marsha made Bill feel welcome while I had the priviledge of meeting Dr. Carl Ivey.  He and  Bill's sister Catherine's friend, Sharon were a delight.  

Next to me a young pastor with three lovely children and a beautiful wife was interested in my Harley having just got started himself with the indomitable, Honda Rebel . "A group of us road down to Courtenay for breakfast one day."  I told him of the Westcoast Biker Church and how Terry the minister had blessed the thousands of bikes in the Ride for Dad. "There's certainly enough riders, we might be able to get a ministry going here."

“A lot of things just started happening that made me realize that something more than me was in charge," Bill told me.   " I think my daughter marrying a fine Christian man and seeing how their lives turned out.  The people at this church really welcomed me and made me feel cared for.  I attended their Sunday School, something called Christianity 101.  It was good.  It all helped me make the decision.  Having friends like you, too. “ he said. 

After visiting Bill and the dogs at his place, I got back on the motorbike and headed south to the ferry.  Campbell River Baptist Church was a fine experience.  I was once President of the Almagamated Baptist Youth Groups of Winnipeg.    Somehow I never found another Baptist church like my Mother's and Aunt's.  The United Church and now the Anglican.  If I lived in Campbell River though I’d probably have stayed Baptist.  It’s that kind of welcoming church.  Involved in the concerns of the community, caring for children and old people, active in the lives of the young people and quite simply filled with the spirit. 

I was happy for Bill. To have such a community.   What a friend we have in Jesus!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

North Vancouver Island

My old friend Bill emailed me an invitation to his baptism in the Baptist Church Campbell River.He must be in his 70's.
It was a nostalgic trip on the Harley up island.
I worked in Comox and Campbell river nearly 20 years ago. After taking the motorcycle across Georgia Strait on the Horseshoe Bay-Nanaimo Ferry I had a fast sunny ride at 110 on the new highway. When I pulled off at Courtenay I hardly recognised it, it's changed so much with development. Comox seemed more recognisable. I photographed St. Joseph's where I worked and the road leading to the Anglican church manse where I'd lived. Seeing the Mount Washington recreation site sign sure brought back memories. What a grand family ski hill. All winter I skiied there and loved it. The sign for Cumberland reminded me of the great time I'd had at the Skeet Club. Seeing the Comox harbour I remembered kayaking when I lived here and later bringing my sailboat into the harbour. The CFB Comox still has a grand display of old airplanes.
I remembered working long hours. I was scared alot. I diagnosed alcoholism and was threatened. The parents of teen age drug addicts accosted me on the street angry that their 'children' were being recommended 'treatment' . Late night threatening phone calls. There was alot of denial and threats of violence. So much of the North Vancouver Island industry back then was criminal. Today it's readily apparent that so much more business has to do with eco tourism. Still I can't pass some of the development without remembering the threats.
The documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" was finally made after the Florida violence. Maybe one day there will be a similiar "BC Bud Bad Guys" movie about these times. When I was working here there'd been shoots outs in provincial camp grounds. Someone took pot shots at my windows one night with a 22. I knew a doctor who gave up medicine to grow marijania because he made more money in a year than he made in ten, less politics and certainly no tax. Actually it always seems that only the good guys get punished with taxes while the bad guys get all the services for free. The newspaper this week said Marc Emory, the drug pusher, is up for extradition to the states. He's always advocating marijuania but then that's his business. No different from Al Capone promoting booze and prostitution. It's not whether or not these all might be better legalized it's just that Marc Emory isn't Robin Hood, Ralf Nader or Suzuki. He's a drug pushing criminal who wants to stay in business.
On the other hand , I worked with some great doctors and nurses back then and had a real priviledge serving some truly fine patients. One unforgettable nurse with a great sense of humor was also beautiful skier. I still keep in contact with some of the family physicians who were the best. Then there was one Campbell River community nurse, named Love and she was as big on brains as she was on heart. I continue to keep in contact with some of the folks in AA in the area and think it would have been great to have got connected back then. There was a great Campbell River physician known equally for his medical skill, his sobriety and his chasing mushroom seeking hippies out of his cow fields. The word that comes to mind about country medicine for me is character. Tolerance too but so much character.
Somehow there was also all this glorious time on weekends. North Vancouver Island is certainly God's playground. I saw the Horn Lake Caves signs and remembered caving. I don't remember going to movies or plays or opera but on the way up here there were lots of signs for such productions. When I was here it was just the outdoors that attracted me but now I see so much evidence of the sophistication that's moved to the country. The agricultural land around Black Creek was  alive with young sheep,cattle and horses.
The Gunther's Meats sign reminded me of all the hunting trips I took and bringing the moose and venison back to their fine care.
Bill, whose getting baptised tomorrow was my hunting buddy on alot of those trips. We've laughed alot in trucks, tents, campers and boats. He credits me in part with his baptism decision. I told him "you must have fallen pretty low to be where I could help you up!"
I attended a few churches more as a tourist than a member when I lived here. I figure it would have been a whole different experience, better in many ways, if I'd joined any one of the churches. When I was a member of one church in Saipan it really made me  more a member of the community and connected me with so many good people.

Friday, June 5, 2009

GIRI on land

My steel cutter, Giri,  is back on land again.  In Kona we had to get her prepared for her journey home. Now Tom and Dave are fixing the mast with the help of Barry. There's the rust spots and bottom paint to be done too.  
Prayer groups were convened and anointing oil was applied earlier before Tom, attached by sacred thread,  was lowered down into the bilge. He dug out the floor around the head and a battle fit for St. George ensued with lanced monsters oozing horrible smells.   Local medicine women and drummers along with white collared priests from the nearby twin spired cathedral flocked  to assist. With all heaving on the sacred thread ,Tom was pulled bodily back from the black hole of the bilge surprisingly sane and whole.   
He said the first battle was won.  Satan had been wrestled  but demons still polluted the area where Barry must bare steel to reattach the compression pole to the keel. 
Earlier in the day at the Dug Out,  Lyle said the serenity prayer and prophesized my boat would be restored so he and his camera could film Horseshoe Bay this summer.
By the time I arrived to take the Tom and Dave out for the Country Lamb at Anatoly Souvlaki the birds had begun to return to the boat yard.  The priests had gone to restock their incense while the First Nation's folk were still burning bails of sweetgrass.  
My friend Bill had emailed me to say he was getting baptised on Sunday requesting my presence.  I figure that means Harley and I have to head up North Vancouver Island way. 
Tom plans tomorrow to put the whole boat into a Hazmat suit to protect the environment.    He figured he and Dave could supervise the 20 vestal virgins flaying the boat with their long golden hair.  A full moon rose over Coal Harbour as I drove the Harley back to the West End.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Talking Spirituality in Addictions and Mental Health Setting

I was asked to give a talk on the subject of spirituality and felt very honoured.  It was a human request so it wasn't as if God spoke to me directly and sent me to Nineveh. No whale swallowed me at least.  I just had to ride my motorcycle over to Burnaby. 
The preparation was made easier because the  the Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal May 2009 edition arrived with two cover story articles on Religion and Spirituality. The great man of the subject, Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University and the Canadian guru, Dr. John Toews had done their typical brilliant best. I then just had to get my staff to copy the pertinent references and create a very impressive hand out. The Power Point presentation was another matter but a reasonable facsimile was created as well. 
Herbert Benson MD had done superb work in the 70's on the benefits of meditationstudying "Relaxation Response" whereas only a few years ago Dr. Willie Gutowski had given a series of lectures on the benefits of Prayer.  I'd also read Dr. Madeleine Martindale's paper on the benefits for spirituality in internal medicine.  
I told my friend with just a little pride I'd be talking, about talking about God in psychiatric settings. "Don't you think it's a little ironic that psychiatry is admitting that God might be good for some people at this late stage."  I naturally explained that spirituality and religion weren't one in the same but yes it was somewhat ironic that mere psychiatry should 'market' God so to speak.  We laughed about that.  It wasn't like psychiatry or God needed me personally or maybe that each needed the other, but I was glad to do my part.  Anxiety is a measure of one's distance from God and equally a measure of humanity. I do get anxious about presentations.  It would pay to remember humility. 
I did however enjoy the talk.  Marylyn who was the organizer was terrific. Scott who preceded me talked personally about how a Higher Power had altered his life. I came in with all the 'science' and the 'studies' and even shared an amusing anecdote. Thankfully the audience laughed in the right places and then it was over.  Amazing.  Marilyn thanked me and I looked at her thinking, my God, she does this daily. I was exhausted and glad to get on my motorcycle and return to the office where one on one I talk to people.  It wasn't like I had to face 'gang' of students there. 
In the end I was really just telling people to join with others in celebration of the finest in life.  Become aware of the common ground between the various beliefs of those around and look for means of meeting at the highest points where bridges are easily forged. I expressed the importance of times for silence and for sharing silence together. I asked that people look to the best of the religion that their grandparents had passed on to their parents.  I encouraged them to ask what was the 'meaning of life' for them individually and what was the meaning of death for them individually. It was okay to ask these questions of people who were suicidal.  It was okay to explore the so called 'delusions' of schizophrenics by asking what these foreign images meant and where had they come from. It was also okay to say that life and love trumped death and fear to those who were having a hard time making a choice. This didn't mean it was okay to prosyletize or evangelize or condemn.  I encouraged people to read about others religious and spiritual beliefs if only to know that what was being said was true to the text they were quoting.  Finally I encouraged people to talk to religious and spiritual leaders of the various traditions and ask them questions when it was relevant.  
There's a wealth of love and care in spiritual communities that can be brought to bear on the problems of addiction and mental health where so often many of the problems stem from isolation and fear.  As for addiction, the addicts already have unhealthy Gods they worship called Booze, Pot, Crack, Meth, E, K, Opiates and H.  The people and Gods they'll likely to find in synagogues, temples, shrines, and churches won't be nearly as unhealthy or cost nearly as much for them individually.  Politically that's a different matter.  But then I encourage isolated people to join political parties because I know that for many loneliness is killing them.  So much of spirituality is about the interconnectedness. It's about finding the perrenial philosophies that celebrate the journey more than the end.  Love adds and multiplies whereas fear subtracts and divides. It's about Love really.  And Love heals. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

23 years Sober

My friend took her 23 years sober cake at AA tonight. I was glad she was sober. If she wasn't I'd probably not have known her. There's a good chance she'd be dead.  Alot of people I meet in AA are alive because of abstinence from alcohol. There lives were not better when they were drinking. They were a whole lot worse. Sober they are alive. 
They're no longer being poisoned physically by the effects of excessive alcohol. They're not developping the gastroenterological disorders associated with alcoholism like ulcers and pancreatitis. They're not developing the cancers associated with alcohol. They're not dementing with Korsakoff's. They're not falling in front of trucks or trains or sleeping with ugly strangers in black outs. They're not puking on the sides of cars or taking their clothes off in public places. They're not shooting off guns without consideration of the noise at night or where the bullets might be landing. They're not getting into fights with other drunks or non drunks or peace officers. They're not driving drunk and killing themselves or perfectly innoscent strangers on the road minding their own business until a drunken driver kills them or their loved ones. They're not falling down and ending up in trauma wards. They're not soiling themselves. They're not acting in ungentlemanly or unladylike ways. 
It's good to go to AA and see that alcoholics really do clean up nice in AA.  They become incredibly civilized and sober citizens.  My friend is a good mother today. She's educated herself in AA with university degrees and become a very learned lady.  She's always helping people.  I'm honoured to call her my friend and I don't think I'd ever have met her if she'd not been sober.   She's a special gift of AA. It was good to be there with her family and all her other friends too.  It's a real honor to be invited to an AA cake. Thank you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

WESTCOAST Motorcycle Ride for Dad

The West Coast Ride for Dad, Fighting Prostate Cancer, started 9 am Sunday May 31,2009  from the grand Trev Deely Harley Davidson Dealership and Museum on Boundary Road. Terry Mahoney, pastor  from Westcoast Biker Church, blessed the ride.  There seemed to be thousands out. Twice the number of last year.  The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation now plans its activities around the support brought in by Ride for Dad.
What an event! What a priviledge to be a part of something so special. And such an incredible array of bikes and diversity of people from the gnarly bearded ancient harley drivers to the funky designer chicks on sport bikes.  Honda, Yamaha, Triumph, Kawasaki, BMW's, Suzuki, Ducatti, Moto Guzzi, and of course Harley Davidson were just some of the bikes represented.  The Vancouver Police and the RCMP were riding out at the front with the Firefighters and all the biker clubs from Blue Knights to HOGS.  
We drove in rows of twos that strung across the city to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. That's when we headed off in packs for Coquitlam.  Riding my Harley with Laura on the back we followed a large pack that got lost somewhere on freeway.  After that half the fun was finding another group of bikers with Ride for Dad Flags and following them till they got lost. 3rd Poker Stop, Maquabeak Park, Coquitlam was abducted by aliens. By the time we got to Golden Ears Park, Mapleridge for the barbecue hot dog lunch it became pretty clear that a division of labour was necessary.  As I was heading out of the parking lot in the exact wrong direction we decided maybe Laura should navigate. It was such a lovely day and the roads were winding so beautifully that I didn't necessarily follow Laura's directions but felt better that we had some clearer lines of blame.  
I stopped to assist two downed bikers that had difficulty on the gravelly country back roads. Bikes were hurt and bodies bruised but no one was seriously injured. The ambulance crews were on the spot in minutes with superb discipline and efficient caring service.  I've attended at a half dozen accidents these last couple of years.  I'm convinced our British Columbia Ambulance services now have to be the best in the world.  
Laura wasn't too pleased to see the downed bikers so I got a whole lot of bruising on my ribs for any excess speed after that. We somehow found our way to the Chevron Station despite endless glorious detours.  We even made it to Fort Langley and then on to Cloverdale where the great Frazer Downs Racetrack & Casino again hosted the end of the poker run.  Riding on their  race track with all the horse shoe treds before us was a blast from the past.  Half the track round was lined row on rows with motorcycles.  
Essence of Elvis and Run GMC played great music. The hamburgers were terrific.  Laura and I just collapsed in the shade of the beer garden fence drinking up the happiness and enjoying the crowds of good looking people. We felt righteous after a long hot day of riding for a good cause.  What an incredible day! What an event! Our heartfelt thanks go out to all the sponsors and organizers.
National Sponsor - Mark's Work wearhouse; Presenting Sponsor - Scotiabank; Ride Dedication - Mike Bruce (Carter Motorsports); Ride Tribute-Canadian Armed Forces; Honorary Supporting Sponsor -Vancouver Police Department; Celebrity Sponsors - VPD Motorcycle Drill Team, Bro Jake Edwards (Classic ROCK 1001), Steve Crevier (Celebrity Ride Captain), Run GMC, Essence of Elvis; VIP Support - James Moore, MP, Randy Hawes MLA, Blair Lekstrom, MLA, Wally Oppal, MLA.  Much thanks to West Coast Motorcycle Ride for Dad Chairman Peter Groenland and Co-Chair Colleen Groenland