Is the short story dead?…

According to many literary insiders, the short story, along with the poem, has now officially flat-lined, the obituary that was written a decade ago, now soon to be published. I’m not sure that I agree exactly, but if the short story is not dead, then it is certainly prostrate on the gurney with the emergency team gathered, paddles held charged and ready.

Ted Genoways wrote a great piece in “Mother Jones” a couple of years ago regarding the imminent death of the short story. You can read it here. Genoways brings up lots of good points about the demise of the university literary quarterly, as well as the drying up of the short story market, as national magazines, such as The Atlantic, GQ, Playboy and Redbook (among many others), have moved away from publishing fiction.

Genoways also tells of Wilbur Cross, a Democrat who was remarkably elected governor of Republican dominated Connecticut in 1930, riding to victory based upon his credentials as an editor of the Yale Review. It is hard to imagine such credentials holding similar sway in an election today. Cross did not relinquish his editor’s post at Yale Review during his tenure as governor, and he remained dually employed throughout his four terms in office. When asked how he was able to perform both jobs, he replied, “By getting up early in the morning.” (Perhaps related to Trollope, see my blog-post of April 23).

Frankly, I don’t understand this. According to all studies, our attention span is now measured in micro-seconds, so it would certainly follow that entertaining fiction, especially collections of good short stories would fill a void. You’d think that people, especially young people, would be shying away from the 200,000 word novel in favor of a shorter length of work that would afford more immediate gratification – but not so apparently.

I went searching for a good volume of recently published short stories by an up and coming author who was actually selling books. To this end, I came across a book that has received quite a bit of acclaim. The Tenth of December by George Saunders met my short story criteria. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this book is going to revive the short story, and it may in fact serve to hasten its demise. First of all, Mr. Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University, is an excellent writer. And to be quite honest, I started out liking this book, and for a short while, I was ready to have the short story moved from the gurney into ICU.

The first story in the collection, “Victory Lap” was great. It is a story about a young man who overcomes smothering parents to rescue a girl from the hands of a serial killer. After that point the remaining stories were too dark of me, and one caused me to bail after only half a dozen paragraphs. Don’t get me wrong, the stories are imaginative and were obviously crafted by a talented artist, but as I said – too dark for me. I would say forget about this book, had it not been for the final story in the collection, the story that gave the book its name: The Tenth of December.

Saunders obviously saved the best for last because this was a beautifully crafted short story. To fame it briefly, the story is about a cancer patient who goes out into the woods to commit suicide but instead finds a child in desperate need of help. So the book redeemed itself in the end.

An acquaintance of mine who has published a couple of novels tells me that he used to write short stories, but there simply isn’t enough money in it today for a professional writer trying to pay the rent. He finds that by the time he puts together a couple of good salable short stories to sell on the currently faltering fiction market, that he could be a third of the way through a longer work from which he could make more money.

So far, I think the short story is not yet dead, but how long can this literary artifact hang on is difficult to say. If you have a favorite short story author, or collection of stories, please feel free to comment. (Feel free to comment anyway.)

That’s it for me today,

Mahalo,

–Ed

Advertisements

The High Line Drifter’s Lament

April is National Poetry Month, so I want to post a couple of pieces of poetry that I have written. These poems have all appeared elsewhere. This poem, The High Line Drifter’s Lament, is one that I wrote several years ago. The High Line is a railroad freight line that runs between Seattle, Washington, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States. It passes just south of the U.S., Canadian border, and crosses the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Back during the 1980s and 1990s, the High Line was terrorized by a gang called the “Freight Train Riders Association”. This gang was responsible for lots of violence along this stretch of track, particularly in the state of Montana. People who illegally rode freight trains were fearful.

The High Line Drifter’s Lament

I was riding on the High Line, on a trip across the plains,

Passing south of Enumclaw, soaked from late night rains,

Riding fifteen hundred miles, across the northern tier,

Choking hard on cheap red wine, cursing hard the fear,

I got a second hand Hi-Standard; I keep it in my pack,

I sleep with one eye open, because I have to make it back,

An old timer told me in Spokane, while we were playing cards,

How thugs had come to terrorize the rails and the yards,

They found a man in Kalispell, a month ago today,

He didn’t have a home or name, but now he has a grave,

They’re rolling drunks, and killing men, and raising lots of hell,

Killing them that ain’t like them, and anyone who’ll tell,

They don’t give any warning, and they don’t make any sound,

They’ll shoot you dead and disappear before the bull’s next round,

So I take a chance, I check my piece, keep my back against the wall,

In thirty two more hours I’ll be with you in St. Paul,

By morning light this train will pass, from the mountains to the farms,

And I’ll be that much closer to the shelter of your arms.

Who is your literary role model?

As a writer, or aspiring writer, you might be asked if you have a literary role mode, or to name a successful writer who particularly inspires you. If you do not have a literary role model, but you’re thinking of finding one, although nobody says you have to have one, consider these points.

First, don’t choose a literary role model for the sole reason that you enjoy their work. Instead, pick someone who embodies the work habits and traits that you want to emulate. For example, I have read and re-read The Great Gatsby countless times, and I believe it to be one of the finest books written in the twentieth century. Still, I would not say that Scott Fitzgerald is my literary role model. The same goes for dozens of other writers whose work I have enjoyed over the years.

Second, I suggest that one choose a literary role model who has been dead for a very long time. This will eliminate your running into him, or her, at a book signing or other similar affair, where you are likely to be blown off as an aspiring nobody. You will also be unlikely to read unflattering news about your role model when they are taken into custody for drunken driving, wife beating or plagiarism. Most importantly, dead writers do not have websites on which you will be tempted to malinger, robbing you of hours that could be better spent working on your own novel, short story or blog. Dead writers don’t Tweet, nor do they have Facebook pages, or any of the other time eating social media distractions that cause the aspiring writer to divert attention from their own writing projects, and generally dishearten the aspiring writer who falls short of 56,000 Twitter followers.

So of course I have a literary role model, or I wouldn’t be bringing this up today. In coming up with a role model, I sought someone with the following traits: he or she must have written prolifically, and they must have exhibited great tenacity and focus in their approach to work – tenacity and focus often trumping talent when the talent is unfocused and slovenly in their approach to craft.  For this reason, the writer that I would most like to emulate is nineteenth century literary legend, Anthony Trollope. Dead since 1882, Trollope will not be tweeting. Sometimes overlooked, as he stands a bit in the shadow of Dickens (a fact that some say drove him to write to extremes), Trollope turned out 47 full length novels, countless short stories, and a slew of non-fictional works in the course of his 67 years, including his 1859 classic “The West Indies and the Spanish Main”.

Starting each day at 5:30 AM, Trollope wrote for 3 hours straight, running only on coffee provided by a servant. In all of his writing years, the servant was never late with Trollope’s coffee, a fact that was not lost on the great writer as he attributed much of his literary success to this faithful servant who apparently kept him caffeinated enough to work. The first 30 minutes of Trollop’s day (from 5:30 until 6:00 AM) was spent reading the previous day’s work. The next two and a half hours were spent writing. Trollope was able, with much practice, to spend this time actually putting words on paper, and not as he himself said  “nibbling his pen, and gazing at the wall before him”. Trollope worked with a watch in front of him and clocked himself at about 250 words per fifteen minute period. Subtract that 30 minutes of review time from the allotted three hours, and you will find that he churned out an astounding 2500 words a day!

Trollope put a great deal of emphasis on his daily reading of his previous day’s work. He felt that this was one of the most important parts of the writing process, as it helped him to achieve the same tone and spirit throughout his finished work.

One of my favorite stories about Trollope confirms his literary discipline. Upon completing a lengthy work, with fifteen minutes left in his ‘writing day’, he penned the words THE END, and put the manuscript aside. A lesser writer would call it a day – but not Anthony Trollope. He pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and began his next book.

It is unlikely that I will follow the disciplined Trollope into literary greatness. But I do find that studying his work habits have inspired me to try to improve my own by adding more structure to my writing periods.

If you have a literary role model, or if you have any particular suggestions to help motivate aspiring writers to keep the words flowing, feel free to comment here.

As for me, the hour grows late, and I have a 5:30 AM date with my laptop.

My final gun control post…Adolphus Busch IV dumps on the NRA

The last time that I blogged about gun control, I told myself that it was the absolute last time that I was going down that rabbit hole, there being so many topics out there that interest me more than the stupidity going on in Washington, D.C. For that reason, along with a few other reasons that I shall not go into here, I felt that pouring yet more frustrated rhetoric, out into the blogosphere would be, simply put, pointless.  But here I go again…

Personally, I do not have strong feelings about gun ownership or gun owners, per se, as I am not anti-gun. I do not, however, as of this writing, own any weaponry as there is nothing that I care to shoot. I gave up hunting animals at an early age when I discovered that I got little joy from killing them, and my fear of the human species has not yet ‘red-lined’ at a level that I feel the need to arm-up to protect myself and my family (naivety being akin to bliss).

I am well aware that many people hunt legally for sport, and people in remote areas often keep guns for protection from four footed vermin as well as two. Still others in urban areas feel the need for guns, for a variety of reasons, some of them valid, and others not so much. I have no quarrel with any of them. I would hope never to see the day that I could not legally purchase a gun in the U.S., should I want to own one. And I am not a gun illiterate. I know the difference between a pistol and a revolver, a breech loaded shotgun vs. a pump model, and I know that .40 caliber ammo is not as easily obtained as .45 caliber. But I also know one other thing about guns…they are damned dangerous.

In the hands of the homicidal, the suicidal, and the genocidal, guns are capable of inflicting great harm quickly. You need to know what you are doing when it comes to guns, so making certain that only the right people get to own them is really important. It is also really important that once the right people own them, they hang onto them, and they don’t peddle them to just anybody with a wad of cash. So it goes without saying that I was more than a little disappointed last week, when the gun control bill, proposed by President Obama (and backed by lots of other people , Democrats and Republicans alike), floundered like a sick panfish on the floor of the United States Senate.

“Well, I expected that to happen,” I said to my wife when I heard the news. “No blogging about gun control for me.”

“Why not,” she asked.

“Because the gun thing is a dead horse,” I said, “and nobody wants to continue to beat one of those. Then I read about Adolphus Busch IV.

Adolphus Busch IV, the brewing company heir, recently rescinded his membership in the National Rifle Association (NRA), thus inspiring me to write here again about guns and their control, or lack thereof. I mean, if a brewing company magnate has the moxy (not the word I really wanted to use, but you get the impression), to stand up to the National Rifle Association, then I owe the issue one more blog.

Mr. Busch recently renounced his NRA membership with a scathing letter to that organization that read, in part:

“I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable.”

Perhaps if we had more gun owners of Mr. Busch’s mettle, some sanity might one day settle upon our Nation. Mr. Busch further noted that today’s NRA is quite unlike the NRA that he had joined back in 1975, an organization that was formed to protect the interests of hunters and gun owners. Today’s NRA, according to Mr. Busch, looks nothing like that, and has instead morphed into a special interest lobbying group for arms and ammunition manufacturers. His observation mirrors my own. As I recall the NRA of the late seventies, it did not wield the power it has today, and seemed to be primarily concerned with gun safety issues, like keeping hunters from accidentally shooting each other on hunting excursions. Or so it seemed.

This is all I have to say on this issue for now, and I will remain silent on gun issues henceforth. There are other BIG issues to address: more poetry in honor of National Poetry Month, giant snails are invading Broward County Florida, and Obama is hijacking an asteroid. Not to mention that I have found an issue upon which I completely agree with Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida…need I drone on…

Mahalo,

-Ed

Thoughts on the Marathon

In November 1983 I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Back then, the Marine Corps Marathon was only in its eighth year of existence. In that year, a comparatively paltry field of 8,604 runners showed up to run a race that followed a serpentine 26.2 mile course through the streets of the U.S. Capital. Considering that last year, 23,518 runners completed the race, the streets back in 1983 must have been relatively deserted.

Less than halfway through the race, I thought that I was finished, as my blood, perhaps thinned by training runs in the warm Florida sunshine, seemed to be slowly coagulating in the frigid winds that swept in across Haines Point, in Washington, D.C.’s East Potomac Park. My muscles tightened, and my fingers became too numb to feel the cold. My ears burned and a stiff headwind seemed to freeze the tears that welled up in the corner of my eyes.

Race officials pulled me into a tent for observation, thinking I was borderline hypothermic, and it looked for awhile as though I would be crossing the finish line courtesy of the straggler pick-up bus. But the short respite from the cold, along with a few sips of hot tea, revitalized my body and restored my determination to continue, so I slipped out of the tent and back into the race. A fortuitous change in wind direction, and a course that led back toward the warmer streets of the city were undoubtedly responsible for my eventual crossing of the finish line under my own power.

It was a day in my life that I recall with amazing clarity, probably due to the large amount of oxygen surging through my blood stream, and into my brain. By the halfway point of the race, the so called, ‘runner’s-high’ had set in, and even the drab, grey skies over Washington seemed crisp and colorful.

I most recall the cheering crowds that lined the streets along the course. As we ran down Constitution Avenue, the halfway point of the race, someone called out that the winner had finished. In my quasi-hypothermic, runner’s-high state of mind, it is difficult to put into words, how devastating that knowledge was to me. It was not that I had any illusion of winning, or coming close to winning. But to think that the winner had already crossed the finish line, received his trophy, posed for a press photo-op, and was by now probably having a late brunch at the Crystal City Marriott was mentally crippling. For a few seconds I wanted to quit. But I didn’t…

Had I been on a course by myself, I think that I really would have quit, but I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by dozens of other determined runners. And then there were the crowds – hundreds of people lined the Constitution Avenue shouting words of encouragement — two hours after the winners had passed. The energy that I picked up from the crowd that day was indescribable. I went on to finish the race, albeit half frozen and dead tired, but I did finish.

In reflecting upon the tragedy in Boston on Monday, I have to wonder if the Marathon will ever be quite the same. Of course, the Marathon as an event will survive. Marathon runners are a hardy lot, and today’s marathons are huge moneymaking events. But I hope that we will not be forced to view future Marathons with the same kind of trepidation that we do making an airline flight. I hope that marathon fans of the future will not be relegated to fortified viewing areas. I hope that we will not react with some of the same knee-jerk reactions like we did in the days following 911, when we enacted laws that did little to actually protect the public. I hope that we will be able to protect marathon participants and spectators while still preserving the spirit of the event. This I hope…

Mahalo

Ed

The relevance of poetry today…April is National Poetry Month…

A long, long, time ago — just after the Presidential Inauguration last January, Alexandra Petri wrote in her Washington Post blog, a piece generally directed at inaugural poet Richard Blanco, but more specifically aimed at the art form of poetry in general. I had intended to comment on her piece back in January, but I didn’t get to it, and I forgot about it until now. But, since April is National Poetry Month here in the U.S., I thought I would revisit her words and comment on them.

If you want to read Ms. Petri’s blog-post in its entirety, I shall provide a link here. For those of you who do not care for links, I will summarize some of her sentiments. She writes:

“Poetry has gone from being something that you did in order to Write Your Name Large Across the Sky and sound your barbaric yawp and generally Shake Things Up to a very carefully gated medium that requires years of study and apprenticeship in order to produce meticulous, perfect, golden lines that up to ten people will ever voluntarily read.”

While I don’t take issue with some of the points she brings out in her piece, Ms. Petri goes on to ask, “Can a poem still change anything?” To which I would answer that maybe it depends upon your definition of ‘change’. Perhaps poetry is not up to the task of making the wolves lie with the lambs, or encouraging the takers to become givers, or to opening the minds of the intolerant, but perhaps that is too large a task for any art form. Nobody is suggesting that novelists cease to novel, or painters cease to paint because something grandiose may not take place. Of course Ms. Petri isn’t suggesting that poets don’t write poetry either, but she is suggesting that it is no longer relevant.

When I was in the seventh grade, my English teacher assigned a poem to me on a Friday, and tasked me to learn the poem by Monday morning. The poem that I was to learn was Shelley’s 1817 classic sonnet, Ozymandias.  It was good training, as it was not to be the last time in my life that I would receive an assignment on Friday for Monday delivery. At the time, however, I had little interest in spending my weekend learning to recite poetry. But I did learn the poem, and I did recite it in front of my English class the next Monday.

In its brevity (14 lines), Ozymandias describes the temporary nature of life in a way that few tomes of doorstop proportion can equal. In this poem, a nameless narrator meets a “traveler from an antique land” who describes visiting what is believed to be the tomb of Rameses II in the Egyptian desert. The traveler ruminates upon an inscription on a statue, left by the once mighty pharaoh, which reads:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

The last three lines of the poem describe the ruins of Ramses’ II’s tomb decaying in the desert – the impenetrable edifice built by the once powerful pharaoh slowly being consumed by the literal and proverbial sands of time. The meaning for us all being that the mighty will one day fall into decay and ruin and we shall all return to the dust of the earth, regardless of our station in life.

I can recite this poem to this day, and I find these words that Shelley penned so long ago both sobering, and in a strange way comforting. So in answer to Ms. Petri’s question, “Can poetry still change anything?” I should answer that in a small way it changed me, and the way I view the world around me

Of course, I realize that Ms. Petri is speaking more about today’s poetry and the state of the art today, and not really about old, long dead poets, and musty old poems committed to memory by seventh graders. I think she is talking about an entirely new breed of poet, and to her credit, some of what she writes about the over intellectualizing of poetry seems to indeed be true.

One of my favorite poets, who has been dead for far fewer years than Shelley, is Charles Bukowski. A one time postal clerk, Bukowski wrote nearly every day of his life, although he did take a decade off from writing, a decade he referred to as a ten year drunk. He died  in 1994 at age 73. He wrote primarily about his own tumultuous, hard-bitten life in Los Angeles, a life spent working at mundane jobs, excessive drinking, gambling and womanizing.

So if you aren’t acquainted with Charles Bukowski, here’s a good place to start: “back to the machine gun” (analyze that). You will find that Bukowski did not produce the “meticulous, golden lines” that Alexandra Petri mentioned in her post. You will probably be either repulsed by Bukowski, or you may find yourself wanting more. Should you want more, his books abound, so pick one up – but don’t purchase online, or in a big name book store. I suggest you look for a dog-eared copy in a used book shop – preferably in a run down part of town (don’t go there alone, or at night). There will probably be an all night diner across the street, and a liquor store next door with a Pabst Blue Ribbon sign in the widow. So find your way there and buy a book and if there is any change left from the sale, leave it for the clerk. Then pick up a pint of Gilbey’s gin and take the number 5 bus home and start reading.

Bukowski’s work is not for everyone, but whether you like him or not, he had some very profound things to say about writing in general. This quote from Bukowski should be taped to every writer’s keyboard, or notebook:

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”

Mahalo

–Ed

A farewell to Roger Ebert…Reflections on the Atomic Bar…

The other day, when I heard the news of Robert Ebert’s death, I had one of my ‘mortality moments’.  I have mentioned ‘mortality moments’ before in this blog, most notably regarding the passing of John Glenn and George McGovern. Mortality moments are when someone, usually a celebrity, and usually someone that you have not given a whole lot of thought to in awhile, but whose name is a household word — that kind of person, leaves this world behind. All of a sudden you realize that humans are not meant to stay here indefinitely. You think that if ______________ is gone (fill in the blank), then it is not inconceivable that my day will be here before I know it and I should, therefore, make good use of the time I am allotted.

Roger Ebert, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1974 was not someone who I had thought a lot about recently, although I did hear that he had battled cancer for some years. Though I was not a huge Roger Ebert fan, if someone walked up to me on the street and asked me to name a movie critic, I would say Roger Ebert. If they asked me to name a second I would say Gene Siskel and if pressed for a third I probably couldn’t come up with another name. This is possibly because I am not a huge movie buff, but I am a huge fan of good criticism and when it is professionally delivered by someone of Mr. Ebert’s caliber, it can be quite entertaining and useful. This leads me to question the future of movie critics in general. With journalists abandoning the profession in droves, is it possible that ‘movie critic’ will one day be added to the ever growing list of obsolete professions, alongside Boomsquires, Lamplighters and Town Criers. I think it is possible.

Reviews abound today on everything from books, to movies, to computers, and toasters, just name it, everyone is becoming a reviewer. Before I purchase a book, I usually read the reviews on Amazon, reviews that were made by people who have simply read the book, and now thanks to the internet, have a platform upon which to cast their proverbial thumbs up, or thumbs down. A gentleman I know, who has published a number of novels, insists that a spate of negative reviews on his recently released book is due to his recent divorce, his ex-wife and her friends being the culprits in the negative comment flurry.

In any case, Mr. Ebert published a very moving essay, regarding his thoughts on his impending death. This essay has been all over the internet of late, but I will provide a link here  for those who may not have read it. It is required reading for those who feel that they themselves will one day die.  Although I do not subscribe to Mr. Ebert’s conviction that nothing exists beyond death, I can offer no evidence to the contrary.

*

My friend Tulip called the other night. Tulip used to live in Plantation, Florida, but she lives out in Los Angeles now and is applying to enter a Film Studies, PhD program. She asked if I still had a poem that I wrote some years ago, back in the late 90’s. The poem was written in the far hours of the morning, on the back of a cocktail napkin, just outside of the bowling alley at the now defunct and demolished Showboat Casino on the Boulder Strip in Las Vegas. I haven’t touched the poem since I wrote it, and I reprint it now in its original gin-stained condition — for Tulip:

The Atomic Bar

Past the Boulder Highway,

Over on Santa Fe,

Light years off the Strip,

Lydia stands on the Atomic Bar.

Yells: “don’t mess with Texas”,

She sings a cowboy song.

It’s a sad state for her native state.

It’s a sad state for her current state.

No harm is ever done in the desert.

No harm done to the present,

She’s bad news says Glenn,

The California Biker turned,

Full time Atomic Bomb.

Said he wanted to move to Saba,

But came here to do it right.

Sold his bike in Fresno.

When he gave into it.

No time like the present.

He lives in it, and drinks it in all day.

But he respects it always. Takes it for what it is.

He picks up a six pack of Coors silos,

Next door at the liquor store, then,

He walks off into the night.

He knows, long nights are often,

Just around forever. Bike’s gone.

Sugar’s gone. Atomic Bar is open,

All night long, every day.

New faces. Some come in painted.

Like figures on the wall,

Night refugees down from the Nugget.

Lydia says Greg Allman makes,

Her life worth living.

She’s sinking fast,

At the Atomic Bar.

*

Or at least that’s how I remember that night…

Mahalo,

Ed

Medical weed on the ropes in FLA…Bong ban goes into effect July 1

I suspect that some of you may imbibe from time to time in a bit of the ganja as you surf the blogosphere. For that reason, I thought that a few words about what is going on here in Florida may be of some interest to you, regardless of where you reside.

Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I am not a pot apologist. I am far from it, but I do think that the drug laws in the United States need to be overhauled. Especially those laws related to marijuana. So let it be known that I am not a cannabis user. At least I don’t plan to use it unless I find myself afflicted with one of several chronic diseases, the pain of which seems to be markedly lessened by a daily dose of marijuana (a joint or two).

Should I find myself in constant pain brought on by one of these diseases, I would think that I would have enough to worry about, without being concerned that the authorities could descend upon my home at any time and seize my plants. The plants that I had nurtured since they were seedlings in the privacy of my own home; the ones that I lovingly cared for in the privacy of my own home; so that when they were mature, I could pluck forth a few leaves and dry them, and then in the privacy of my own home, smoke said leaves, and in so doing achieve some relief from the pain associated with my disease.

You’d think…

Which brings me to Parris, Florida resident, Cathy Jordan. The 62 year old Jordan suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Confined to a wheelchair and barely able to speak, Ms. Jordan, with the help of her husband, Bob, grows her own marijuana, or at least she used to grow it, until deputies from the Manatee County Sheriff’s office raided her home and confiscated her plants, seedlings and all.

Ms. Jordan, who is a high-profile activist for legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, was given three to five years to live back in 1986. Today, by her own admission, she has outlived many of the doctors who treated her – a fact that she attributes to her daily cannabis regimen.

Today, Senate Bill 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, is slogging its way through the Florida legislature, probably not destined to become law anytime soon, if ever. If enacted, this law would have allowed folks like Ms. Jordan to legally grow up to 8 marijuana plants for personal use. Frankly, it does not look good for this important legislation during this session. If you reside here in the Sunshine State and you believe that this measure is important enough to warrant a few minutes of your time, please contact your state legislator and voice your support.

But do not think our Florida lawmakers are sitting on their hands waiting for the session to end, oh no.  They have pushed through a new law to take effect on July 1, 2013 to help protect us from the evils of pot. As of that date we Floridians shall be forbidden to purchase ‘bongs’, or those pipes especially sold to smoke weed. Well…they are sort of banned. Sale of bongs is now relegated to only those establishments that derive 75 percent of their income from selling tobacco products.

Mahalo,

Ed