Sleeping Unicorns

Our unicorn today comes from Cranky Pants, in the form of a unique question. Cranky Pants suffers from autoimmune disease. That’s why she’s so cranky. And she wears pants.

Her blog, at https://crankypants2.wordpress.com/, complains about the unique challenges she and others face with autoimmune disease. And she also rants about her many difficulties trying to get effective medical care, from a screwed up and sometimes skeptical medical system.

Cranky, we hope they find a cure for your malady, one day. We’d like to see you in a better mood.

Mrs. Pants crankily asks us the following unique question:

“Why is it called beauty sleep when you wake up looking like a troll?”

I don’t have that problem. I always take a pretty pill before going to bed. But if you have a unique answer, response, or perhaps allergic reaction to Cranky Pants’ question, we want to hear about it. Please leave your fun, exciting, and unique comment below.

Gibber Bags the First Unicorn

Our very first unicorn comes from Gibber Jabberin. Gibber, you’ve made history, and will forever be remembered as the first blogger to ever catch a unicorn!

Gibber is asking a unique question. Which is: “Why is it that it’s socially acceptable for men to be hairy but not women? What crazy person came up with this rule? How can we change it?”

If you’re a veteran blogger you may remember Gibber Jabberin’s blog, which was called, uh, hmm . . . I just can’t remember the name of it. Anyhow, it was quite a bit like what I’m attempting now, on Chasing Unicorns.

Back in the day, you could submit a question to Gibber Jabberin, and then her followers would chip in with crazy, wack-a-doodle answers. Boy, she had some wild, free-wheeling commentary going on there, in her blogging heyday. It was great fun.

Then she got busy with a candle-making business and quit her blog. So we slapped her a few times, shook her, and said, “Gibber, what the hell! Get back to blogging! We miss you!” She finally relented, and she and I collaborated on a revival of Gibber Jabberin.

That only lasted a few months though, and then I got too busy to deal with it, and Gibber Jabberin closed down again.

So now what I’m trying to do is introduce a version of the Gibber Jabberin concept to Chasing Unicorns. I’m such a copycat, aren’t I? I guess I’m just too lazy to come up with something original. However, in the interest of uniqueness and unicorns, I’ve at least put a unique little twist on the concept.

Instead of limiting the forum to just questions and answers, I’ve expanded it to include much more than that. Now you can submit anything unique, such as a unique observation, unique opinion, unique experience, unique life situation, or anything else. Just as long as it’s unique.

For example, we don’t want to hear that you ate a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast this morning. That’s just too damn mundane and boring. But if you noticed fly larvae in your spoon of Wheaties, while lifting it to your wide-open mouth, then we definitely want to hear about it. That would be frickin’ unique (I hope), and I’m sure we could all have fun commenting about it.

Okay, I hope that’s all clear. Now, let’s get back to Gibber Jabberin’s unicorn. It happens to be a unique question. Why, Gibber, why? Don’t you understand that it doesn’t have to be a question anymore? Oh well, maybe you can’t teach an old blog new tricks.

But alright, there’s our unicorn for the day. A unique question from Gibber Jabberin which, in case you’ve forgotten after this long-winded spiel, is in the 2nd paragraph of this post.

Now it’s your turn to come up with unique answers, observations, or other unique comments related to Gibber’s question. Don’t hold back. We’re itching to hear from you. Or maybe those are fleas.

Please leave your comments below, and let’s have some fun!

Business As Snoozual

In yesterday’s post I hinted that some changes were in the works for Chasing Unicorns. Yessirree there are. Because I’m not a business-as-usual kind of guy. Nosirree.

But I hope I didn’t leave you with the wrong impression about me. I do like change, this is true. Change is wonderful. I love the refreshing novelty of doing something new. But what I don’t like is having to work hard to achieve change. That’s because I’m a business-as-snoozual kind of guy.

This is me, trying to dream up a new post.

I want to rest and relax and let other people achieve change for me. I want to enjoy all the neat, new things people provide. As long as they don’t disturb my nap. That would be anathema. (And you know what anathema means, don’t you Just Joan 42?)

They say the smartest people are the laziest. That’s because they come up with all kinds of ingenious ways to get out of work. So, lazy as I am, I put on my thinking cap the other day and tried real hard to be smart. It hurt. Thinking is not a practice I approach lightly. I don’t allow myself to think this hard except maybe two or three times per year.

But ala kazam and zippedy doo! What do you know? A 14-watt, LED 100-watt equivalent light bulb switched on above my head. I got an idea!

My idea is to let my followers help me out with my blog.

My blog is about chasing unicorns. Unicorn is code for unique. So the purpose of my blog is to chase after uniqueness.

That’s why my posts tend to be eclectic. One day I might post about fabric softener. Some other day I might post about Trump, or a national park I visited, or something historical. I aim for variety. I try to keep my posts unique, just like a unicorn is unique.

And when my lazy, lame brain can’t come up with anything unique, I steal a unique quote from some unsuspecting celebrity.

Uniqueness is all a part of change. The more change we experience, the more uniqueness we experience. This is where you, my followers, come into my brilliant, 14-watt, LED 100-watt equivalent idea. You can provide change to my blog by submitting unique things, that I will post for you.

For instance, if you have a unique question, or a unique idea, or maybe you’re in a unique situation, you can submit it to Chasing Unicorns. Or let’s say you’ve had a unique experience, or you recently learned something unique. Or whatever the heck it is, as long as it’s unique, you can submit it to this blog.

I’ll post it for you. And I’ll even post a link to your blog, to give you some free advertisement. Then the rest of us can look at the “unicorn” you sent me, and make smart-ass wise-ass dumb-ass unique comments about it. In this way, we’ll be creating more unicorns, with our comments.

There will be no rules, except the ones I make up as we go along. And I’d rather not make up any because I’m too lazy to enforce rules. So please try to keep it halfway civilized.

This I think, could be a perfect plan. Just let my wacky, nutty, crazy followers write my blog for me. What could possibly go wrong?

There are two new pages at the top of this blog that explain the whole unicorn submission process in detail. The page entitled, What’s a Unicorn? will hopefully give you a better idea of how I define a unicorn. And the page entitled, Unicorn Teleporting Pod will explain how to transport your unicorn to my blog.

But if you’re as lazy as me, and don’t want to read those pages, I’ll make it real simple, right here. Just send your unicorn to the following email address:

And I’ll take it from there.

Alright, enough of this chit-chat. It’s time for my nap, and it’s time for you to start chasing unicorns. Get on out there and catch some one-horned beasts for me, and teleport them in. Hopefully the fun can begin tomorrow, with a brand new, unique post from a follower.

I’m really looking forward to the changes you add to my blog. But as for now I’m feeling sleepy. So it’s time for me to get right down to some business.

Business as snoozual.

Movin’ On Up

Chasing Unicorns is movin’ on up. I’ve upgraded to WordPress’s Premium Plan.

After eight years of freeriding off WordPress, and four or five or six different blogs—heck I can’t even count them all—I’ve finally stumbled into a blog that I’ve stuck with longer than it takes snow to melt from a hot pile of manure.

For some reason Chasing Unicorns has grown on me, and I think I’m going to keep it around a while. So why not reward this blog, and my loyal followers, by bedizening it with an upgrade?

The Premium Plan costs $96 a year. I’ve felt a little skeptical about what I could get from prying my wallet open that wide, and that’s one thing that was holding me back.

But so far it seems worth the dough. One of my favorite things is the unlimited Premium themes. These themes, that you have to pay for, seem to come with more versatility and better artistic design.

I opted for the Broadsheet theme. It’s priced at $79 for those with the Free or Personal Plan. But it’s nothing extra when you’re a Premium Plan subscriber.

I love the Advanced Design Customization. You can tweak the hell out of your theme, and come up with all kinds of unique designs. In fact, I’ve tweaked my Broadsheet theme so much, you’d swear I was a meth head.

I also got a new domain name. Now my blog can be found under two domains–the one I’ve had all along, and a new one with “wordpress” removed. And so now you can find me at https://unicorniks.com, as well as https://unicorniks.wordpress.com. It ain’t no big deal, just snob value, really. But somehow it seems to add legitimacy to a website. By the way, you can also get this feature with the Personal Plan, which only costs $48 per year.

I get 13GB of storage space also, as opposed to the 4GB that comes with the Free Plan. This helps me relax. I use a lot of photos and have been getting worried about bumping up against my top limit.

Something that puzzles me is that I’m now paying for “Advanced Social Media”. This allows me to schedule my social media posts in advance. Hmm, I’ve been able to do that all along, with the Free Plan. Has WordPress just not noticed, and let me get away with something? Or has WordPress hoped I wouldn’t notice that I’ve had this feature all along, and they think they’re the ones getting away with something?

All in all, I’m very happy with the upgrade. And I hope you will be too.

And now that Chasing Unicorns is upgraded, it’s also going to change directions a little. Sometimes you have to zig, zag, and jink around to catch more unicorns. This change is still in the works, but I think I’ll be introducing it very soon.

Thank you from the calcified chambers of my heart for following me. I hope you’ll enjoy the new flavor of my blog.

Please stay tuned, and always keep up the chase!

Fabric Softener

Many years ago I started doing my own laundry. I got tired of having to ferret through piles of clothes in the garage to find my shirts, jeans, socks, and unmentionables. That was my wife’s system. Clean the clothes, then leave them in a giant pile.

My wife would be happy to do my laundry. She’s very domestic, and not one of those women’s libbers who think that men should do housework, too.

No, but I’m one of those women’s libbers. I liberate her from the cleaning jobs she doesn’t do well at. Which is just about everything.

But as for laundry, she does hers and I do mine. Hers ends up in a mountainous pile. Mine ends up neatly folded and put away.

I try to make the job as easy as possible. So I don’t use extra stuff, like fabric softener. At least not intentionally. However I have used it unintentionally on plenty of occasions. That’s because it looks so much like a bottle of liquid detergent.

Try to guess, which is the detergent, and which is the fabric softener?

Why the hell do women have to have fabric softener? If they want soft fabric, why don’t they just feel the fabric before they buy their clothes? And if fabric softener really worked, clothing could be made of gunny sacks, and be a whole lot cheaper.

I feel the same about anti-cling dryer sheets. I’ve tried them a few times, and yes they do save me from having to unpeel every article of clothing from each other. But half the fun of folding clothes is hearing the frizzle of static electricity, as I exercise my origami skills.

So I don’t use them. Unlike my wife. What’s crazy is that after several rounds in the dryer, these sheets always end up on our garage floor, looking like lifeless lambs, killed by continuous lightning strikes. I find myself picking up these crumpled creatures and tossing them in the trash, because no one else deigns to bend their back.

Why do people use extra little products to get a simple job done? All they do is create confusion and add to their work. I’m a true believer in the KISS method of doing laundry. Keep It Sudsy Stupid. And that’s all you have to do.

And what’s with all the different cycle choices? I always use the Normal Wash cycle. It has never damaged my wool socks or flannel shirts. I refuse to buy any clothing that won’t hold up under a Normal Wash cycle.

My wife does most of the shopping, and she always buys the cheap detergent. That’s the liquid detergent of some brand nobody ever heard of before, and never will again. We’ve had brands with names like Old Nellie’s Froth, Red Tide, and Lye By Night.

There are never any instructions on the bottles concerning the proper amount of detergent to use, for the size of the load. So I usually err on the side of caution and measure out way more than is probably needed. And there goes all the savings from buying the cheap stuff.

But we do save money on detergent in other ways. It all works out in the end. Because I get absent-minded a lot when I do the laundry. And then I end up walking around in smelly but very cuddly clothes.

All because I accidentally grabbed the bottle of fabric softener.

Why Amerika Is Great Again

Amerika’s symbol, looking for newly created greatness.

Mid-term elections are less than three months away, and President Trump is out on the campaign trail. With his wavy combover flapping like an Amerikan flag in the breeze, he’s reminding us how he’s made Amerika great again.

And it’s undeniable. Amerika has once again emerged as a great world power. Here are a few reasons why:

Amerika is great again because our worries about war with Russia are over, now that they’re our bestest friends. It’s true that our newest worries are war with Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, France, China, Iran, and a whole bunch of other countries. But between us and Russia, we have enough nuclear missiles to blow them and the whole world up many, many times over. And that’s a great comfort.

Amerika is great again because we’ve identified our biggest enemy. Mexicans. We recently started separating Mexican children from their parents. Or are they Hondurans and El Salvadorans? Wait, what’s the difference? This separation has led to alarm and anxiety amongst the Mexican/Honduran/El Salvadoran people. Hell, let’s just call them the Mexihonadorans. Next we will sell their children back to them and use the proceeds to build a Great Wall.

Amerika is great again because we are eliminating our trade deficit with the world. What with tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, our trade deficit with other nations is on the decline. In fact, all trading with other nations is on the decline. When trading eventually reaches zero, this should encourage us to become a great, self-sufficient country.

Amerika is great again because we no longer have to worry about global warming. We’ve learned to distrust the fake scientists and fake news media that have propagated myths like global warming. So now we feel safe getting rid of emission standards and turning our air into the great smell of money. A great amount of money. For great, hard working folks, like those who work for Trump.

Amerika is great again because we’ve discovered that the only real news comes from Facebook memes. And we don’t even have to create them. Our caring comrades in Russia have volunteered to produce all the memes we need to keep abreast of real news events. This information will help Amerikan citizens in many ways, but especially when deciding how to vote.

Trump has truly made Amerika great again, and we should feel appreciative. So come November, head on down to the polls and send President Trump’s party your own personal message of gratitude. But it really won’t be necessary for you to make such effort. These days you can just stay at home and let someone in Saint Petersburg do your voting for you.

And isn’t that great?

For a related post about Russian meddling, check out this from nrhatch:
https://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/health-alert-from-fox-news/

The Blivet Bag Life

I guess I’m lucky. I’ve never seen the mythical blivet bag. I’ve heard about blivet bags all my life, but never have I encountered one in person. I googled for an image of a blivet bag so I could show you what one looks like, as well as find out for myself. But even Google fails to come up with any convincing likeness.

A blivet bag, as you may know, is ten pounds of shit stuffed into a five pound bag. You’d think Google would have plenty of pictures of that. But nope.

I got to thinking though that blivet bags are actually pretty common. Just not in the form of bags. Rather, they occur in the form of our lives. Imagine we have five pound lives and imagine that we sometimes try to stuff ten pounds of living into our five pound lives. That’s when we turn ourselves into blivet bags.

We sometimes try to live more life than we’re capable of living. We overwhelm ourselves with things to do. And then all kinds of bad things happen.

We get mad and lose our temper. Just like a blivet bag bursting apart. Or we get distracted and screw up. Just like an awkwardly heavy blivet bag, being fumbled and dropped. And we struggle to maintain control of our lives. Just like a blivet bag that constantly spills open, requiring continuous restuffing and packing.

It happened to my wife and me just recently. We discovered that we had termites. And the bugman convinced us that we would have to tent-fumigate our home. After we signed the contract we discovered all the things we had to do to prepare for the big tent.

All food and medicine had to be removed from the premises, or be double-bagged in the refrigerator. And arrangements had to be made to board our menagerie of dogs and cats. Which also meant we had to get them caught up on their shots and licenses.

And we learned that every drawer, cupboard, file cabinet, chest, trunk, safe, and any other enclosed piece of furniture or fixture had to be left unlocked and open.

A crew of strangers would enter our opened up house and do whatever the hell they wanted, while we would be shut out and unable to monitor their actions.

So to counter this security nightmare, we went through the entire house searching for and collecting any and all valuables, embarrassing stuff, and paperwork with social security numbers and other identifying or sensitive information. This was stored in a separate, locked building on our property, that wasn’t being fumigated.

This took a lot of time. Our blivet bag was running over. We were really stressing.

Finally we decided, to hell with it, and left town for a few days on a mini-vacation, while the house was filled with poisonous gas. We took our minds off of what was happening to our home sweet home. We did our best to empty our blivet bag and relax.

This house has turned into a blivet bag.

Thankfully the house was still standing when we returned. And after a few days we put everything back in its place, minus some junk we decided to jettison. The dogs and cats survived. The valuables are once again secured. And, knock on wood, the termites appear to be dead.

But most importantly, we successfully deflated our blivet bag lives.

Sometimes when my blivet bag life runneth over, I try something I call Slow-Down Meditation. In fact I tried it a few days before the tent went up. I forced myself to do everything very slowly. I could only keep this up for about an hour, but it had lasting effects. It relaxed me. It helped me be more reflective. And it inspired me to clear some of the clutter out of my life and simplify.

We don’t have to meditate. There are many other ways to deflate our shit-packed lives. But the first step is to learn how to recognize a blivet bag when we see one. Google won’t help, but honest self-reflection may reveal just how anxious and overwhelmed we feel. That’s our clue that our life may have turned into a blivet bag.

I advise that as soon as you recognize your blivet bag, take immediate steps to unpack it. Unless there’s a true emergency or crisis happening right now, you don’t need to be doing a million things at once. I advise that you unpack, deflate, and relax. Make your life a pleasure to live, rather than a nonstop race to an ever-receding finish.

I wish your life to always be full. But by that I mean, may it only be five pounds full. For that is the most enjoyable way to live a five pound life.

A Week of Recreational Trips

Last week I came upon a fork in the road. After pulling it out of my foot, I had to decide to go left and pursue a life of crime, or go right, and continue to be the upstanding, law-abiding citizen that I have been throughout much of my adult life.

I went left. And now I am a criminal. I have violated a federal law that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine, for the first offense.

You see, I decided to try marijuana. You know, ganja, grass, weed, hemp, airplane, dope, rope, Mary Jane, 420, broccoli, wacky tabacky . . . everybody is familiar with those terms, right? Even a guy like me who never used the stuff.

I was a marijuana virgin until a week ago. I don’t like to use mind-altering substances. And so I also don’t drink, having given that up about 25 years ago. I think it’s wise to stay clear-minded and sober. This makes it easier for me to beat my impoverished mother at penny-ante poker games.

But I’ve heard so much about the forbidden fruit of marijuana that my curiosity got the best of me, leading to the fork in the road. And the state of California has made it easy to go left and satisfy my curiosity. This year it became legal in our state to sell marijuana to recreational users.

And so, feeling recreational and curious, I headed down to the head shop to buy a baggie.

It’s still a federal offense, so I felt a little bit nervous about this whole process. Turns out I wasn’t the only one. Those who sell it are a bit nervous, too.

The head shop was a suite in a strip mall containing a few other businesses, including a tile and countertop shop. I nervously pulled at the door. But it was locked. Was this the right suite? Then I heard a click and it popped open. Someone from inside had remotely unlocked the door. I stepped into a small, cheaply decorated lobby with two couches. A security guard sat in a booth behind a bulletproof window.

He asked if this was my first time here. Oh god, would he find out I’m a marijuana virgin? How embarrassing. It would look so uncool for a guy as old as me to be a newcomer to grass. But how would he know I hadn’t used this substance before at some other place? So I casually put my hands in my pockets and dismissively remarked, “Yes.”

He asked, “Medical or recreational?”

“Recreational,” I replied, while trying to utter this polysyllabic word in the coolest way possible. I think it came off, “Rehhhhhcreationallll.”

He took my driver’s license and scanned it, for reasons I still haven’t figured out and was afraid to ask. He also had me fill out a form, where I gave my contact information.

Then he told me to wait.

About 10 minutes later my reverie on the couch was broken by a young lady who opened a door and called my name. This formality was just like seeing a doctor.

I followed her into a tiny room that contained marijuana product displayed in glass cases. She and I were the only ones in this tiny room, and it felt a little intimate and uncomfortable. I said nothing, but just stood there trying to look as cool as possible. Finally she asked if there was something she could help me with. I asked, “Do you sell edibles?”

She said, “Sure,” and began reciting a long rundown of all the edibles in stock. I can’t remember all the different names, but when she said, “Brownies,” it rang a bell. Only cool people consume marijuana-laced brownies. Or so I think I’ve heard.

I interrupted her with, “I’ll take the brownies.”

My baggie of brownies.

She removed a bag of brownies from a refrigerator behind the cash register. They were professionally packaged, with the brand name, “Kaneh Co.” She said they were $15.00, plus tax.

The tax was extraordinary. Tacked onto the sale was a $2.25 excise tax. Plus a $1.73 city tax. Plus a $1.76 sales tax. Although these figures add up to $20.74, the total on the receipt read $20.73. Don’t ask me what happened to the penny, but hey this was a marijuana outfit I was buying from.

I paid cash. I’ve heard they don’t accept credit cards or checks, due to federal laws, so I didn’t even offer to try those methods of payment.

I left the store a federal lawbreaker, in illegal possession of a Schedule I controlled substance. That’s right, marijuana is right there at the top of the list of drugs that our federal government fears the most. Schedule I drugs are considered by the FDA to have a high potential for abuse and/or physical dependence, with no currently acceptable medical use.

Hello, glaucoma? Hello, chemotherapy relief? Hello, are there any intelligent people working at the FDA?

Other Schedule I drugs besides marijuana are, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and Quaaludes. Schedule II drugs, considered less dangerous by the FDA, include cocaine and methamphetamine. Yep, the FDA considers cocaine and methamphetamine to be safer than Mary Jane.

On my way home I wasn’t worried about the dangers of marijuana. I was only worried about being stopped by the law. Yeah it’s legal in our state. But no, it’s not really legal, because of federal law. This is a gray area I felt anxious about. And wouldn’t you know, I passed three cops while driving the back roads home, and they all gave me long hard stares. Or so I imagined. And what gives? I hardly ever see cops on those roads. Or so I imagine.

But the most feared cop of all was at my destination. My wife. She hates any drugs, and has told me many times that she would never be married to someone who uses drugs. So I couldn’t let her know what I was doing. I had several half-baked plans swirling in my head on how to get my broccoli brownies past her nose and into a safe hiding spot.

Fortunately the DEA wasn’t home, so I easily smuggled the brownie bag in through the front door. Then I hid my stash beneath a sweater in a dresser drawer and waited.

Close to bedtime, when my wife wasn’t looking, I consumed my very first brownie and lost my marijuana virginity.

One of the brownies. Looks delicious, no?

Each brownie was about one-inch square, and according to the packaging, contained 10 mg of THC. THC is the active ingredient of cannabis, and it’s what makes you high. 10 mg of THC is 1/2800 of an ounce. It may not seem like much, because you need much more to get high if you’re smoking pot. But it’s a significant amount when it comes to edible marijuana. I’d learned from research I did beforehand that edibles have a much more potent effect than smokables.

There is no leaf marijuana in edible brownies. Instead the THC comes from an oil called concentrated cannabis, or cannabis extract. The state of California allows you to legally possess 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of leaf marijuana, but only 8 grams (~1/4 oz) of concentrated cannabis. I dug out my calculator, and it seems that with each brownie containing 10 mg of THC, and with 10 mg being 1/100th of a gram, you would have to be in possession of more than 800 brownies to violate California’s legal limit.

My baggie only contained 10 brownies, so I was very safely within the limit.

But healthwise, was I safe to eat even one of those ten brownies? I’ve read that some people have bad trips even with that small amount.

The brownie was sweet and toothsome. It was hard to hold back and not devour more. I truly believe that chocolate and sugar should be included in the list of Schedule I drugs. They are very addictive and very easy to abuse. And they cause cavities.

Nothing happened from this one brownie, at first. But within a half hour I began to perceive a very light, fuzzy feeling. I went to bed soon after, but did not fall asleep for an hour. Who says marijuana helps you to sleep? Nonsense.

About an hour after I finally dropped off to dreamland I awoke feeling even more light and fuzzy. I also felt a little dizzy and nauseous. And there were some small hallucinations going on. After drifting back to sleep I began getting brief, intermittent sensations that a pole made of pure crystal was running through my chest. It was a bit disconcerting, and would repeatedly startle me back awake for about half the night.

I felt glad I only ate one brownie.

The next evening I ate another brownie. The effect was far less pronounced than the night before. It made me feel a little light-headed and fuzzy, but that was the extent of this high. It seemed as if I had quickly developed a tolerance.

So the next evening, just after dinner, I consumed two brownies instead of one. I wanted to play around some more with feeling high.

I got my wish. It took a few hours, but suddenly the full effects of 20 mg of THC kicked in. I began feeling excited, and somewhat unfocused. This worsened, until I was having difficulty concentrating on reading and typing, and anything else. I felt a little dizzy, and staggered when I walked. I glanced in a mirror and noticed that my pupils were a little dilated.

After I went to bed, I awoke several times feeling dizzy. I also felt a scratchy throat. And before this I assumed the scratchy throat that potheads get was from smoking. Now I know better. THC makes your throat scratchy no matter how you ingest it.

I also experienced auditory hallucinations. These included the sound of muffled voices, and the sound of rapid, soft thumping in the distance. But the scariest hallucination was a very vivid splish-splash noise that coincided with my heartbeat. It was as if I could hear the actual sound of my blood striking my heart walls.

This was some trip, and I debated whether it would be safe to travel to this high height again.

I had six brownies left. I didn’t want the bland experience from just one brownie at a time, so I went for it. The next day I consumed two more brownies.

It seems my tolerance had not strengthened any further, because that evening’s high was just as powerful as the high of the night before, with hallucinations and everything.

For the next two nights I continued with two brownies per evening, as a postprandial indulgence, and continued to have strong highs.

But after that my baggie hidden under the sweater was completely empty. And then I had no more brownies, no more THC, and no more highs.

Now I faced the real test. Would I just have to have more cannabis? Would I miss the light fuzzy feeling, the wild hallucinations, the tripping high? Would I be in a hurry to rush back down to the head shop and purchase more brownies?

Or even worse, would this turn out to be a gateway drug, like so many anti-pot zealots have claimed? Would I want to start doing heroin now? Or LSD? Or Quaaludes? What kind of dissipated dope addict might I descend into?

The good news is, I’ve been drug-free for four days now, and have no craving to return to my debauched druggy lifestyle. My self-imposed rehab program is proving successful.

Heck, I’m just not interested in getting high from drugs. The high from marijuana feels unnatural and kind of unpleasant. I’ve experienced much more pleasant highs from doing more natural things. Things such as napping, meditating, and napping while meditating. I may be a nap addict, but I’m not yet a drug addict.

I doubt I’ll ever do marijuana again. Nor will I somehow stumble through a gate and start experimenting with other drugs.

But even if I did, so what? I want everyone to be responsible for their own oblivion. I don’t think we need nannies like Uncle Sam to protect us from ourselves.

I’d like to see all drugs legalized. This was my opinion before using marijuana, and remains my opinion after. It seems like such a waste of human life to throw people in jail, just because they obtained a high through unnatural means. Let them be.

Let everyone be. Let us experiment and pursue our happiness in any way we see fit, as long as we don’t hurt anyone but ourselves.

My experiment has taught me the power of the natural high. The unnatural high from marijuana doesn’t even come close to matching it. But I would not have learned this if it wasn’t for that baggie of brownies.

Thank you, state of California, for allowing me that freedom.

Trump vs. Hitler

I’ve heard many people compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. I don’t think that’s fair, and I’m not about to do it. I think there are a lot of differences between the two.

For instance, Hitler colluded with Russia to acquire Poland. However Trump colluded with Russia to take Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. That’s a big difference.

Hitler died in 1945. Trump was born in 1946. So at the most, Trump is merely Hitler reincarnated.

Hitler parted his natural-born hair on the right, and combed it over to the left. Trump parts his TRANSPLANTED hair on the right, and combs it over to the left.

Hitler was unmarried, but had mistresses. Trump has had mistresses, too. But while married.

Hitler invaded Russia and stole their oil. Trump went to Finland and unctuously poured oil all over the Russian president.

Hitler used Jews as scapegoats. But Trump uses Mexicans, instead.

Is this Trump or Hitler, as a 12-year-old boy? Or do I even have to ask?

Hitler was a master orator. Trump is a master debater.

Hitler was an artist, and inspired the German people with his design of the swastika flag. On the other hand Trump doesn’t draw. He did inspire the American people with his book, “The Art of the Deal,” but it was ghost-written by some guy named Schwartz.

You see? And the differences go on and on.

And that is why I will never confuse Trump with Hitler.

Cowboy Caveman

“Dad, I hate school. I don’t ever want to go back. Please! Please! Please! I want to do something else!”

“Well, what do you want to do?”

“I want to be a cowboy.”

And so Jim White, Sr. pulled his 10-year-old son, Jim, Jr., out of school. He drove him 400 miles from their ranch in central Texas, to a cattle ranch in southern New Mexico. And that’s where he left him, to fulfill his cowboy dreams.

Damn! Wouldn’t it be great to have a dad like that?

Five years later, Jim White, Jr. was riding his mustang through the Guadalupe Mountains, searching for stray cattle. Suddenly he encountered something that stopped him and his horse dead in their tracks. It looked like a column of black smoke pouring up into the sky.

Was it a volcano? Jim wondered. Nope, not noisy enough. How about a tornado? Couldn’t be. There was no wind, and the nearest thunderhead was miles off.

He ventured closer, finally tying his bronc and pushing and hacking his way on foot through thick chaparral. That’s when he made a discovery that would change his life, and southern New Mexico forever.

It was an enormous black hole. And belching from the mouth of this maw were thousands upon thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. The bats were whirling frenetically in a counter-clockwise direction just above the hole, then rising into the sky and spinning off into space in a spreading dark cloud.

The cave Jim White discovered, although without the paved walkway.

Night was falling fast, but this 15-year-old’s curiosity was piqued. He just had to see more.

Jim rode back to the ranch. He didn’t stay long. He returned a few days later with a hatchet, fence wire, a homemade kerosene lantern, and some matches.

He used the hatchet to cut rungs from the surrounding brush, and wove these rungs through the fence wire to create a wire ladder. He lowered this ladder down into the darkness of the cave. He lit his homemade lantern and descended the rungs of the ladder to a ledge 50 feet below. Then he scrambled down a slope another 20 feet and began spelunking for the very first time in his life.

When Jim White looked up, after climbing down his wire ladder, this is pretty much what he saw. By the way, those aren’t bats flying at the mouth of the cave. Rather, they are swallows. Hundreds of swallows have made their home here, and work the day shift eating insects. The bats take over at night.

What the hell gets into the heads of kids, to do dangerous and foolish things like this? Some kids just think they’re immortal, and that nothing can happen to them. But tragically, some of these same kids find out, all too late, that they are not. Would Jim be one of them?

His were the first human eyes to view the grandiose elegant underground beauty that we now know as Carlsbad Caverns. He began his adventure by using his lantern to explore the bat cave. Then he about-faced and descended a dark, broken declivity into the bowels of the caverns.

Carlsbad Caverns is a petroleum product. The Guadalupe mountains are made of limestone. About 5 million years ago the groundwater level here was much higher, reaching up to near the surface of the earth. Petroleum reserves below this groundwater produced hydrogen sulfide, and this hydrogen sulfide seeped up into the groundwater, causing a chemical reaction that produced sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid dissolved the limestone, forming the caverns.

He crept like a cat, negotiating treacherous ledges, and avoiding terrible dark, deep precipices. His skin bristled in horripilation at the sound of clattering rocks dislodged by his feet, echoing and echoing as they tumbled down inky black pits. He scrambled and slid over limestone boulders, wet from condensation caused by the constant 56 degree temperature.

Finally he debouched into a huge room, thousands of feet long, and hundreds of feet wide and high. Monstrous stalactites dangled from the ceiling, and similar-sized stalagmites met them halfway up from the floor. And many other weird speleothems dazzled Jim’s eyes from the glow of his lantern.

The groundwater level dropped after the caverns were formed, leaving these massive cavities beneath the surface. Within the last million years, a hole eroded, opening up the caverns to the outside world.

He became so engrossed in this splendid strange scenery that he forgot about something very important. Kerosene. Without warning his lantern burned through the last of this light-giving juice and lost its flame. Jim was instantly enveloped in total darkness and left completely and helplessly blind.

The bravery and foolishness of this immortal explorer were about to kill him, for he needed light to find his way out of the cave.

Who knows, maybe many other caverns were formed within the Guadalupe mountains, that have not yet opened up to the surface.

But Jim had a backup plan. He grabbled about, searching for a canteen filled with kerosene that he’d brought along, just in case. Then he fumbled through his pockets for some matches. After a bit of effort he refilled and relit the lantern. The darkness pulled back.

Jim beat it out of there before the last of this spare kerosene was consumed.

But he wasn’t finished spelunking. A short time later he returned with a young Mexican friend. They exercised surprisingly good foresight by bringing along a large ball of string, which they intended to use to trace their way back to the cave’s exit.

Stalactites hang from the ceiling, whereas stalagmites grow from the floor. They were formed through a process called speleogenesis. Speleogenesis requires water, so most of the speleogenesis at Carlsbad Caverns ceased about four million years ago, as groundwater receded.

They spent about three days exploring the intricate innards of the caverns. No one knows just how much this duo discovered, but in the 1980s some splelunkers discovered the words “Jim White 1898” scratched into the rocks, far deeper and further than anyone had ever suspected they’d reached.

Of course Jim and his Mexican friend freely reported their fantastic findings to anyone they encountered above the surface. But they were just kids. Adults would laugh at them, and chalk up their tales to overactive imaginations. It took years for Jim to convince anyone to come take a look for themselves.

A paved trail currently winds through much of the same areas that Jim White and his Mexican friend explored.

But after a while a few did take Jim up on it, and got their own eyeful of this massive, wondrous cavern. They told their tales, and before long, word began spreading far and wide over the countryside, just like the bats emerging for their evening feast.

Once word got out and people started believing it, Jim White never worked as a cowboy again. The cave took over his life. He became a guano miner, hauling batshit out of the depths and sending it on to fertilize orchards in California. He also worked for a few years as a park ranger at Carlsbad Caverns, when it was a National Monument.

This formation, and the formation at the middle right, are rated R. No children under the age of 17 are permitted to view them.

A book about his life was ghostwritten for him, which he sold inside the famed Underground Lunchroom of the caverns. And he earned a few bits now and then guiding tourists through the cave system.

He never got rich from this natural wonder, and in fact barely scratched out a living. And then in 1946, this cowboy turned caveman suffered a heart attack and passed away. He was 63.

Each of the 400,000 plus visitors per year unwittingly sheds a minute amount of lint from their clothing as they walk the trails. This lint adds up after a while, and can combine with condensation to damage cavern formations. But once a year a lint cleanup is conducted, where workers use special brushes charged with static electricity to pick up the lint.

We can thank Jim White for his discovery, though it’s likely someone else would eventually have found this cave, with it’s tell-tale evening bat “smoke”. But it’s unlikely anyone would have had the derring-do to discover it Jim’s way.

Who else would have dared to venture alone into such unknown depths of darkness? And who else would have been savvy enough to bring along a spare canteen of kerosene?

In my view, Carlsbad Caverns is much more interesting when Jim White’s story is included. Jim White was never rich in money or education. But he had a tale to tell that no one could match. His adventuresome spirit and temerity made him wealthy in ways that cannot be measured. Except with the help of the glow from a homemade kerosene lantern.

You can use an elevator to descend into the caverns, or you can hike in through the natural cave entrance. I recommend the natural cave entrance hike if you can handle it. You’ll see much more. And you can always take the elevator back up and out.