Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Revisiting the Past at the Closing of the Year

The French-brokered cease-fire between the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip and Israel finally fell apart a few days ago when Israel unleashed a 'shock and awe' campaign to destroy Hamas security installations and suppress the use of the homemade unguided rockets that have been aimed at Israeli towns.

So far, best estimates give about 350 dead in Gaza, most of them Hamas; six Israelis are dead.

That's a better than 50:1 exchange rate. But Israel is missing the point, by returning to the past in which the application of high explosives is the solution to every problem.

One analyst, interviewed yesterday on NPR, stated that Israel's strategic objective was to drive a wedge between the Gazans and Hamas, and hopefully force a regime change. Troops and tanks are already massing on the border as Israel prepares for a possible ground assault.

One minor problem, that I think Israel is missing.

The United States dropped more high explosives on North Vietnam than the total of bombs dropped on Europe in World War Two, and it did nothing to dissociate the Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh's government - in fact, it strengthened it.

Going back further, Germany's shock and awe campaign didn't break the will or morale of the British, now did it?

All Israel is doing is creating another two generations (at least) of potential converts to Hamas' cause.

Sometimes people should stop looking back at failed solutions and try new ones. Have the courage to look ahead.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

5-11 Isn't So Bad, Actually :-)

At the beginning of the 2008 NFL season I made a few predictions for the Oakland Raiders (who had managed a 2-14 record in 2007). I predicted 7-9.

I was wrong, and I admit it.

What I also stated, as far back as July, that if it were fated that Oakland finish 2008 at 1-15, I would be happy so long as the one win was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A friend of mine has two season tickets to the Bucs, and is a complete fanatic about the team. He invited me to buy one of his tickets to the Oakland game, and I eagerly bought the ticket.

The Bucs had a 9-6 record going in and the Raiders were 4-11, and even I (who have followed Oakland ever since Madden was their head coach) didn't expect the Raiders to win. The latest line had the Bucs by as many as 5 to 13 points.

Oakland won, 31-24. I quite literally couldn't believe it.

JaMarcus Russell showed some poise, and was intercepted once. Most of the rushing yardage was by Michael Bush, who showed a lot of toughness. Tampa's Jeff Garcia, by contrast, seemed almost afraid to heave the ball deep even though he had people open. The Raiders defense stepped up and played tough, while the smaller and speedier Tampa defensive line seemed unable to power their way past Oakland's offensive line.

Oakland finishes the season with a record about 150% better than last season's, and has shown some improvement. They're figuring it out, and with the grace of Al Davis (who'll hopefully keep his senile nose out of it) the Raiders may once again be a force to be reckoned with.

This was our Super Bowl, Raiders fans, and we won!

Enjoy it, savor it, and build on it.

Is There a Setting Beyond "Epic Fail?"

Because if there is it belongs to George W Bush.

Three-quarters of the people polled by CNN say that they're quite happy to see Bush leave office and don't want him ever coming back.

The last, tiny, fleeting glimmer of a bright spot - his efforts to salvage some sort of Mideast peace plan before January 20th - was extinguished under sixty Qassim rockets, one hundred tons of bombs and at least 200 dead Palestinians.

We may be looking at war between India and Pakistan.

And the economy is still lodged in the sewer pipe thanks in very large part to the Bush Administration's deregulation efforts and a Republican history of letting the markets dictate the markets (and not taking into account the fact that human greed would trump even common sense).

So if there is a setting beyond 'Epic' on the Fail-o-meter, Bush owns it.

Lock, stock, and barrel.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Trouble Brewing

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India last month continue to stir up trouble between the nuclear-armed states of India and Pakistan. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of not doing enough to suppress terrorist groups in its country (notably the Lashkar e-Taiba, who claimed responsibility for the attack) and Islamabad accusing New Delhi of being behind the recent bombing in Lahore.

Tensions continue to escalate: India's National Command Authority apparently met and both sides are increasing the number and readiness of troops along their shared border and along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region. Both sides trade accusations while at the same time making conciliatory statements. We'll have to keep an eye on this, big time.

Bishop Desmond Tutu weighed in over the Christmas holiday, calling on possible armed force to oust Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe from office. Mugabe, 84 years old, has turned into the biggest handicap to his nation. Inflation is astronomical, malnutrition and cholera are increasing as the economy lies moribund, and the recent elections were a joke. Mugabe will only leave office feet-first.

Please refer to my earlier indication that he is 84 years old. Obviously he doesn't have too much longer to go, and it's only a matter of time before he either goes by natural causes or some member of his own staff puts a bullet in his brain. We'll have to watch this too.

And finally, in our "No Shit" Department, we have word that a recent report from the Heimatsicherheitsdiensthauptamt (or Department of Homeland Security) concludes that we can expect the next five years to feature terrorist activity emanating from Africa and the Middle East due to instability.

Hmm. Instability.

Do you think that this 'instability' that Chertoff and his analysts speak of may have been caused by our inaction in Darfur and our stupid blundering about in Southwest Asia? Freaking idiot.

The 38-page assessment goes on to say that we can expect RCyCB (Radiological/Cybernetic/Chemical/Biological) attacks over the next five years, along with increasing pressure along our borders. With the US economy tanking, we've already started to see indications that illegal immigration may slow down. As to cyber attacks, yes, they'll be a major nuisance as well as posing a possible infrastructure threat.

The Big Three (RCB) are problematic, but I think, personally, that radiological and biological weapons of mass destruction are still a bit out of reach. Chemical agents such as mustard gas are cheap and easy to make. Hussein used them against the Iranians and the Kurds for just those reasons (and we gave him those, ladies and gentlemen). Chemical weapons are known as "the poor man's atomic bomb" and that's a true statement. Mustard gas is a blistering agent that can kill but usually disables and disfigures; it's persistent as well.

So the New Year may be born crying and kicking. Either way, it bears watching so it doesn't grow up to be a brat.

It's Boxing Day, Which Means ...

Christmas Dinner!

No, I'm not crazy - I have paperwork to prove it.

Traditionally in my family, I cook Christmas dinner for the family on December 24th and we open the presents I have for them. On the 25th, I go over to my brother's house for another dinner and more presents. Neat, eh?

Well, this year we've had to make a few minor changes because I had to work on the 24th.

I took all the presents over to my brother's house yesterday (the living room floor was half-obscured by boxes and bags) and settled down for a midday feed that featured smoked turkey breast, ham and little nibbles. My brother and his wife believe in grazing on Christmas Day.

Which makes today my day to strut my foodie cred, so here's the menu:

Prime rib, rubbed with a dry rub of dried mushrooms, salt and pepper
Mushroom gravy
Mashed potatoes
Green beans with herbed butter
Spiced Carrots
Rum raisin apple pie
Lemon fruitcake

And in keeping with a tradition started last year we're going to sprawl out on the living room carpet to eat. It's a lot less formal and everyone seemed to have a great time, so we're doing it again.

Going to have to eat light the next couple of weeks, though.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Poo

And I ain't talking Mister Hanky, either.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Pontifex Maximus, etc. etc. etc. (gloriously reigning - says so on the label) had his annual message to the world to mark the holiday. During his message, which can be likened to beer and sauerkraut farts coming as they do from this Teuton twit, he likened stamping out homosexuality to saving the rainforest.

One of these things is not like the other; one of these things just doesn't belong.

Homosexuality, according to the latest evidence, is a vast category composed of people with a genetic predisposition and those who adopt it as a choice (as well as those adopt it as situations demand). Choosing one's religion is more of a lifestyle choice than homosexuality is, and sexual inversion has been with us since before Christianity reared its head and started assimilating other Eastern mystery religions.

But that's just one of the things from the Vatican to pack lint up my nose this Christmas Day.

The other concerns Florentine astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei. Four hundred years ago Galileo demonstrated the truth behind the Copernican model of the solar system; i.e., that the Earth moves around the Sun, and not vice versa. The Church back then asked Galileo to keep his mouth shut about it, which of course didn't take into account his temperament. He was examined by the Inquisition and placed under house arrest until he died. His works were placed on the Index of Prohibited Books and remained there for centuries.

Galileo was pardoned a while back and his works removed from the Index. Now the Church is trying to spin things, saying that Galileo should be considered a bridge between religion and reason.

Yeah. Right.

For two thousand years the thrust of the Christian Church has been credo ut intelligam - believe, and understand. Church thinkers from Tertullian to Thomas Aquinas demanded that a person swallow everything the doctrinal watchdogs gave them, which may have stimulated some thought but suppressed anything that even hinted at violating the established order of things.

We see the stamp of the old Church Militant in such egregious, narrow bigots as William Donohue of the so-called Catholic League.

All of which served to irritate me a tad on this Saturnalia.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Movies!

One of the favorite things Hollywood likes to inflict on us every year is the wide assortment of Yuletide cinema. Here are a few of my favorites.

I recall watching this one year on television back when I was a child, and while it didn't traumatize me for life it did feed my twisted sense of humor. I'm talking, of course, about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, featuring Pia Zadora as the little Martian girl.

Here's a clip of it, as mugged and snagged on by Joel and the Bots (I will refrain from posting all ten installments of it in order to spare you the horror):

Now, as everyone knows, holidays are a time for family. Mainly for family drama as long-buried animosities surface and people say destructive and hateful things. But hey, it's only once a year, isn't it?

This kind of thing has been going on forever, as seen in my absolute all-time favorite holiday film, The Lion in Winter starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole (and featuring Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton):

Finally, Christmas movies tug at your heart-strings. Movie adaptations of Charles Dickens' immortal A Christmas Carol are a favorite staple, and the best one (in my opinion) is the classic black & white starring British actor Alastair Sim:

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the rest of it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sweet Zombie Jesus in Jodhpurs ...

That "So what?" is on a par with Dick Cheney's contemptuous "So?" several years ago.

This disgusting little creature and the bloated psychopath he's partnered with deserve to be arrested two seconds after noon on January 20th, held without bail in the Navy brig in South Carolina then put on trial.

The charges?

Oh, I don't know ... let's start with a few blasts from the past taken from the Nuremberg Indictment:

1. Conspiracy to wage a war of aggression
2. Waging a war of aggression
3. War crimes

That's three of the five original counts (the other two, Crimes Against Humanity and Conspiracy to Seize Power, we will leave aside for the nonce).

Let's see ... what else? Ah.

4. 4,205 counts of first-degree murder (for encompassing in a premeditated manner the deaths of 4,205 members of the United States Armed Forces).
5. 500,000 or so counts of second-degree murder of Iraqi civilians (second degree not because of they're worth less, but their deaths were due to negligence, malfeasance, misfeasance and indirect actions).
6. One massive-ass count of fraud, in that they used fear and false intelligence to gull the American people into agreeing to a war that was unnecessary at the start and has so far killed thousands and crippled our economy.
7. Treason, in that they both violated their oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States by disregarding the separation of powers and arrogating to themselves authority that, by right and law, they should not have.

Now, of course, I know that this won't happen. Bush and Cheney will skip blithely away from any whiff of criminal prosecution for their destruction of the United States, free to collect truly Brobdingnagian amounts of money in stock deals, speaking fees and book deals. All of the secondary actors involved (Addington, Yoo, Wolfowitz, et. al.) will also avoid being brought to justice for their crimes.

Thank you though, dear reader, for letting me get this off my chest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sole Man

As part of his "farewell" tour, President Kim Jong Bush, the Barbarian-Quelling Generalissimo, dropped in on his satrapy in Baghdad. While having a joint press conference (probably a dress rehearsal for extended conferences with a joint at his new house in the former racist neighborhood near Dallas), an Iraqi journalist for a Cairo-based news service decided to make his displeasure known.

He threw his shoes at Bush.

And, as a parting shot, he shouted, "Here's a farewell, dog!"

CNN took pains to relate that both the shoe throwing and the canine epithet are very deep insults in Arab culture.

Now come on - if you don't respect the man, at least respect the office. This dry-drunk cretin is still our President, finger on the nuclear button and (if you listen to the People Of Little Brain) anointed by God. No matter that there are bits of gristle flushed down the loo with more intelligence than him, he's our President for the next month or so.

I bet he's looking forward to the monthlong cocaine and whiskey bender after he leaves office.

Oh, and Press Masturbator and Mouth of Sauron Dana Perino got a black eye in the melee. Karma? We report; you decide.

After the presser, Bush took a helicopter ride (at night - I thought we owned the skies over Iraq?) to Camp Victory, where it's reported he blamed the war on Saddam Hussein.

Nice to see he's staying true to form.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait until January when the adults will again be in charge.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Rant, Eid al-Adha Edition

(Yeah, I know the Eid was a couple days ago. So what? Allah will forgive me.)

The Congress deserves nothing but coal in their stockings this Christmas. The Democrats for slavishly bending over and taking it hard and lube-free from the weak White House, and the Republicans for being Republicans.

I shall elaborate.

After the Big Three automakers came back to Capitol Hill with actual plans for how they'd restructure and recover after getting a "bridge loan" and after the UAW national headquarters endorsed the idea, the House of Representatives under the leadership of Nancy "Firebrand" Pelosi (D-Spineless) started to set up the money end of the bailout.

Enter the Bush White House, basking in the warm glow of 20% approval ratings, and demanded that a different source of funding for the bailout be found.

And the Democratic leadership in the House rolled over. They should be so used to it by now that their rectums have calluses.

The $14 billion dollar "bridge loan" would come out of a fund designed to force research into alternative-fuel vehicles. And let's face it, nothing cheeses off a Detroit car maker than actually having to contemplate giving up the internal combustion engine. It just ain't done, you know.

So off the bill went to the Senate, which has a Democratic majority led so ably by that ball of fire, Harry "Go Ahead and Rape Me Anally" Reid (D-Gomorrah).

The Senate GOP, ignoring their Dark Lord's advice that voting against the bill would brand the GOP as the Party of Hoover until well into the next century, followed instead the lead of several members of the Unreconstructed Asshole Brigade (Grassley, Demint, Shelby) who still believe that the Southern States run their economies just fine and dandy without such Communist parasites as labor unions.

So the bailout bill has foundered.


Let's recap.

The Congress, stampeded by dire warnings of the destruction of the Entire Global Economy, Already, were more than willing to get behind forking over $700 BILLION dollars to shore up the sagging banking, investment and mortgage industries, but were either too spineless or too Luddite to hand over a paltry $14 billion to save the jobs of people who actually BUILD stuff.

Look at your bank statement. Right now.

I'll wait.

Okay, done? Fine.

It says you have X dollars in the bank, but you don't. Not really. Your money is Out There, Somewhere - a series of binary zeroes and ones zooming their way through the Internet and over the airwaves. Money is more of a fiction than privacy.

But a car - you can actually TOUCH that. People BUILT it, and you can USE it to go places.

A car is a tangible asset, unlike your bank account.

So the GOP has risked being tarred forever as the Party That Advocates Slavery As A Labor Value by denying assistance to the auto industry (which reminds me - how will Shelby react when the auto builders in the "right to work" state of Alabama start crying for their auto parts if the suppliers stop building those crankshafts and fenders?) but were all too willing to fork over a truly apocalyptic amount of money to support people who make millions in salaries and STILL unrepentantly demand fat bonuses the size of the Gross National Product of Bolivia.

Eventually this Dark Carbuncle of Doom shall rise and come to a head, then burst and blanket the face of the land with its foul humors.

Maybe the Revolution will be televised (we won't know it, as we won't be able to afford the electricity).


Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Um ... Yeah, Right.

"... And it came to pass that Brian's fingers did naughtiness in the sight of the Lord, and male and female poked he them."

- from the companion book to Monty Python's Life of Brian

I was perusing the news sites, as is my wont, when this little nugget jumped out at me, courtesy of CNN:

Bent vows touching girls
not sexual

The article can be seen here, and tells of a "religious" man accused of sexual misconduct with two juvenile girls.

Makes me wonder where the hell the parents were and why they didn't a) put a stop to it, and b) beat the shit out of the "religious" man.

The imposition of hands is, indeed, a religious ritual, but not in bed and not between an adult male and two minor girls.

Here's hoping they put this asshole under the jail. There are some in prison who'd love to put their hands on him. Lord knows he'd start yelling "Oh God!" after the lights go out.

Packing the House

Canada's Parliament has two houses; one of them, the Senate, is now a major bone of contention between Prime Minister Harper and the lower chamber, which he prorogued earlier this month. There are 18 empty seats in the Senate, and Harper is planning on appointing people to fill those seats while Parliament is out of session.

Harper's Conservative Party has only 20 appointees in the 105-seat chamber, and has up until now favored making the body an elective office rather than having people appointed to serve until they're 75. Other people favor abolishing the Senate altogther.

(Hmm, not a bad idea, he thought as he eyed the District of Columbia meaningfully.)

Anyway, few people dispute his right to appoint new senators - but many agree that he's got some set of balls doing it.

It's a cynical ploy to shore up support in the upper house before January 26th when Parliament comes back into session, where Harper is certain to face a confidence vote.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Smoke on the Khyber

Pass, that is.

Militants in Pakistan's North-West Province stormed a truck lot in Peshawar, blew apart the gate with a rocket-propelled grenade and killed the gate guard, then proceeded to torch and destroy about 150 trucks scheduled to be used by NATO forces to bring supplies through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan.

About 70 percent of NATO's supplies comes through the Khyber, through territory only somewhat controlled by Pakistani troops. The supplies included Humvees, food and medical supplies. Juan Cole reports that the attackers were likely members of the Pakistani Taliban, who differ from the Afghan Taliban by being a bit more tribal-based rather than religious-based.

Several NATO nations have been negotiating with other nations, including Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for alternate supply routes that will avoid Pakistan and the sea route through the Gulf of Aden, which as we've seen is full of Somali pirates. The US will probably be following suit, as Humvees cost money and to have them torched before they can get to the troops is a definite non-starter as a operational plan.

Thank goodness the grown-ups will be taking power in Washington in less than two months. They've got their work cut out for them.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Sign of Rationality

And from the Supreme Court of the United States, no less.

One of the persistent memes left over from the campaign for President has been that the two major party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, were ineligible to become President as they were not "natural-born" Americans (as opposed to those grown in axolotl tanks).

McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a leased US possession at the time, while Obama was born in Hawaii (but the idiots claim that due to his Kenyan father and his Indonesian stepfather, he wasn't a citizen).

Some complete blithering lunatic in New Jersey of all places managed to get a suit alleging that McCain, Obama and the Socialist Party's candidate were all ineligible all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Which refused to hear the case.

Now, we will continue to hear this nonsense for at least the next four years from Those Of Little Brain, who swallow and parrot every bit of bilge they are spoon-fed from Hannity, Coulter and O'Reilly (as well as the lesser dybbuks on AM radio). But it's refreshing to see that even the Roberts Court is capable of rationality.

Is It Soup Yet?


Not until suppertime tonight. The beans (white navy beans) have been soaking since last night, but the stock is simmering away merrily.

Stock ingredients:
Beef bones (feather bones from a Christmas prime rib a couple years back, defrosted and well-browned with salt and fresh-ground pepper)
Medium (baseball-sized) onion, cut into 8 pieces
Two carrots
Two ribs of celery
Sprigs of rosemary, thyme and oregano (I grow my own)
Two cups of white wine
Six cups of water.

The veggies and herbs were sauteed in a tablespoon of olive oil before adding the browned meat and the liquids. I brought it to a boil about 8 AM and now it's simmering. At least two-three cups of it will be used as cooking liquid for the bean-and-ham soup for tonight.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hey, Karl Rove!

Add my name to your goddamned book, you oleaginous little turd.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh, Canada ...

Not you, too.


Okay, this may take some explanation, and I'm not an expert on Canadian politics. But - and this is important - we need to know what's going on with our neighbor to the north before it turns into a major crisis on our doorstep.

So here goes.

Canada held federal elections over a month ago (Didn't hear about it? Not surprised; we were engaged in our ritual bloodletting) and the voters returned the majority Conservative Party to power, and the Prime Minister, Stephan Harper, took over for a second term.

With the economy starting to circle the bowl, just as it's doing here (71,000 jobs lost last month, and the automakers asking for a bailout - oh, and the Canadian dollar, the Loonie, hitting a 4-year low against the US dollar) the Conservatives proposed a fiscal plan.

The plan had several rather provocative provisions in it that served to weld together the three minority parties - the center-left Liberals, the left-leaning New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois - into a contrived alliance. That alliance was planning on forcing a vote of confidence in the Parliament in Ottawa with the goal of ousting Harper from power.

Harper had a definite problem on his hands, so he turned to a course of action that, while apparently having some precedent, was at least unique for the circumstances. He asked the Governor-General, Michelle Jean, for permission to prorogue the Parliament until January 27th, at which time the government would submit a budget.

The Governor-General agreed.

Now to explain a few things. Canada, like many parliamentary democracies, has two leaders: A head of state to represent the country, and a head of government to actually run the place. In Canada, the head of government is the Prime Minister, and the head of state is the Queen of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II. Naturally she can't be everywhere at once, so she rules through a representative, the Governor-General.

Proroguing Parliament basically entails sending the entire legislative branch of the government home, closing the doors and switching off the lights until the executive branch tells it to come back.

Aren't you glad that the Founding Fathers didn't go this route when they set up our government? If they had, Bush could have just told the Congress to go home and governed by fiat ... wait a minute; he's been doing that.

Mr. Rob Russo, the chief of the Canadian Press agency's Ottawa office, put it this way:
"I do believe that national unity has been damaged.
"What you have is scorched earth around Alberta for the Liberal party. Westerners, who were never favourably disposed to the Liberals will now say 'You tried to dislodge our government'," he says.
"There's also scorched earth for the prime minister around Quebec….he's told Quebeckers that their legitimate choice for representation in the Canadian parliament are in effect traitors, who have no business in the government of Canada.
"It's really been a dismal week for national unity."

Anyway, let me send this heartfelt appeal - Please, Canada. We're sorry we ignore you. Please don't start acting crazy. Obama has enough stuff to deal with.

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Science News for Thursday

It's time to feed your sense of wonder, ladies and gentlemen. Let's be fair, there's only so much you can do to squeeze humor out of politics.

So, let's begin.


About 21,000 to 22,000 years ago (or roughly three times longer than the universe has been in existence, according to the fundamentalist loonies), a group of people in what is now Russia, about a hundred miles southeast of Moscow, buried a set of engravings made of mammoth ivory. In what is believed to have been a hunting ritual designed to bring more game animals to their cooking fires, the people buried images and other artifacts.

The archeologists who have unearthed the site described the artwork as "confident" and showing an "extraordinary repertoire" of skills. Included in the site are two Venus figurines, stylized female likenesses that may have had some connection to fertility.

Gee, ya think?


The 16th Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was a very interesting person in a century filled with interesting people - among other things, he had a detachable nose made of gold (having lost the real one in a duel). In 1572, while doing what he normally did at night (looking up at the stars without a telescope), he noted a new star.

Nowadays that's not too big of a deal, but in 1572 it was a great blow against the idea of an orderly universe - God had set up the heavens, you see, and adding things were not supposed to be on the menu. But you couldn't deny it was there, all you had to do was look up. So Brahe started to calculate how far away it might be, and that staggered him and the entire scientific community at the time.

The new star had no parallax, indicating that it was amazingly far away; so amazingly far away, in fact, that people had to revise their thinking about how big the universe actually was. To their surprise, the supernova (for that is what it was) vanished after 16 months, during which time it could be visible in daylight for about two weeks.

Amazing stuff.

Scientists have managed to trace backward, using Brahe's calculations and observations, to find the relic (or 'light echo') of the nova and determine just what it was he saw. It turns out that it was a type of supernova where a white dwarf sucks material away from a companion star until it reaches a critical mass and explodes.

Brahe would be impressed.



2,700 years ago a man was buried in the Gobi Desert area of China. He was a Caucasian, maybe a member of a nomadic tribal group, and he was maybe 45 years old. He was buried with some artifacts, probably mementoes or possessions.

Whoever buried him also buried his stash.

About two pounds of marijuana were unearthed in the grave, apparently from a cultivated strain of the plant. The tribe apparently knew something about it, as the male flower parts (lower in the active ingredient, THC, than the female parts) had been picked out of the mass, which thanks to decomposition is no longer capable of getting people high.

There's some speculation as to how it was used, as there was no pipe in the grave. The scientists think he may have chewed it, or burned it in a censer as part of a religious ritual.

Sorry, no empty cookie packages or pizza boxes were found.