Ensign Screw-Up

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000168 EndHTML:0000005770 StartFragment:0000000438 EndFragment:0000005753 A significant rite of passage for young men back in the 1960’s involved military service. Once one turned 18, all males were required to register for the draft. You reported to your draft board, and after a physical, you were classified with a draft status. I never knew how these …

The War on Drugs – Notes from the Front

Early in his first term, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. I had just joined the Drug Enforcement Administration, in whose forensic labs I spent the next quarter century. Within a year or so, I was at headquarters, where, among other pursuits, I was tasked with trying to figure out how a small coterie …

Coronavirus: Random Thoughts

Clueless Red State Governors Georgia -Just found out within last 48 hours that the virus can be transmitted even from asymptomatic people….(been common knowledge for at least two months before that utterance…Who knew?) -South Dakota is not New York. We don’t need these closures, distancing measures, etc. (Tell that to Smithfield packing plant employees, where …

Dihydrogen Monoxide: A Strange Substance

Dihydrogen momoxide (aka Water) is an extremely common substance we all know about – or do we? Some odd properties of water: It has a much higher heat capacity than most substances. Heat capacity is the quantity of heat which must be applied to raise the temperature of a given amount of substance by, say, …

Fentanyl – A Primer

Fentanyl is an extremely potent drug, whose legitimate uses include pain relief for cancer patients. It is one of the most potent drugs in the pharmacopeia. A usual dose of 100 micrograms or less does the trick; it would take about 10 milligrams of morphine to achieve the same result. For those who are metric …

The Seaman’s Exam

Fresh out of 90-day wonder school, I reported to my first duty station, line officer, USS Aeolus (ARC-3). (I always will remember when they passed out these assignments. My company chief told me where I was going, then took a beat “Mr. Canaff, what the hell is an ARC?”) The ship, converted from a Navy …

Caveat Emptor (what you see is (often not) what you get…….)

We seem to be hearing a lot of Latin these days (quid pro quo and all that). In a past career with DEA, I was editor, for a time, of a newsletter and journal we called Microgram. We received a never ceasing flow of mail concerning bait-and-switch in the drug trade (caveat emptor, buyer beware). …

Marijuana Species……..What’s in a name?

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 defines marijuana, in part, as “All parts of the plant Cannabis Sativa L…….”. Many of us learned that biological classification of living things follow a sequence in order of specificity: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, Variety Skipping over the obvious. Marijuana is a plant, not an animal. …

Chicken of the Sea

Shortly before reporting for duty on my first ship in 1963, she was involved in a collision in San Francisco Bay. According to my shipmates, the captain (a well politically connected naval reserve commander) was heard to say to the exec as collision was imminent,”Well, John, there goes my fourth stripe”. As the Navy cliché …