Truly Great Book about drugs

“Licit and Illicit Drugs”.  I read this book while in college and when thinking back about the best books I’ve read, this is in the top 3.   It is an outstanding source for historical information about the development of our attitudes towards drugs, the role they play in our society, a straightforward, non-technical presentation of the psychological and biological actions of various drugs, and the effects of our current drug policies.  You will be stunned at the destructive role of our government and certain individuals have played on society through misinformation and just plain bad laws.

Sadly, it is out of print, but you can read it on-line at:

Good reading.

Great app for testing USB charging

Ever wonder why it’s taking so long for your phone/tablet to charge?  I highly recommend “Ampere”.  I used it to test the quality of various chargers and USB cables.  The best cables enabled 1060mA, the worst, 460mA.  I wound up tossing the cables that did less than 860mA.  Ampere is a free download, or pay $1.13 for the Pro version.

Rating charities

You get reviews on cars before you buy one, why not do the same thing before giving to charities?  There are agencies which rate charities.  I was solicited by a veteran’s charity and it seemed worthwhile and it is, but I checked and there are veteran’s charities with better ratings.  Ratings are based on several criteria and the one I care a lot about is the percent spent on the charitable purpose.  Check out: and .  An article in the 12/14 issue of Money Magazine mentions,, and BTW, I found that there are nearly 100 veterans charities in the U.S.  And depending on how you define “charity”, there are well over a million in the U.S. alone.  Happy giving!



First football game – Levi’s stadium

Thanks to friend Matt Thurmaier and wife Kristi, I was invited to attend the opening of Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara on Aug 17th.  The 49ers were playing the Broncos and got whomped 34-0.  But that’s not what was important.  It was the football unveiling of the new $1.3B stadium.  So here are some first impressions.  First, it only has to be better than Candlestick, which it is.  No contest.  Second … getting in and parking, and leaving, was easy.  Though we did have a 3/4 mile walk to the parking lot and by the time we left, the stadium was only  10% full.  I expect that regular season games will be tougher.  But so far so good.  Third … concessions were very nice with lots of choices.  Vegan hot dogs.  More craft beers than I could count.  But beware … I ordered a Lagunitas IPA for only $11 and I don’t know what I got in the cup, but it sure wasn’t Lagunitas.  It was cold so no big deal.  Fourth … seating was good and sight lines were excellent.  Fifth … got out of our seats at halftime to go to the concessions … and ran into the biggest people traffic jam I’ve ever experienced, ever.  At one point, I thought I would never move from where I was standing.  Sixth … there’s a cool app where you can order stuff and it gets delivered to your seat, except that they don’t actually deliver anything.  I ordered a few things in the 3rd quarter and the stuff never showed up.  I think they’ve got to work the kinks out of that app.  Seventh and last … I’ll bet than when they work the kinks out, Levi’s stadium will be a world-class venue.  Photo:


Santa Cruz Nutcracker

For you Santa Cruzans and even those over in Silicon Valley … look for the 10th production in 2012 of The Nutcracker ballet in Santa Cruz. We attended this year’s production and it was wonderful. Though I’m no ballet critic, the performances seemed to sparkle, and the 55 member orchestra was truly delightful. If you haven’t seen The Nutcracker with a live orchestra, you’ve missed half the show, at least.