Ohio by the Numbers:
3, 10, 10,000, 40

ohion2y33 is the number assigned to the ballot issue on the legalization of marijuana in Ohio.

10 is the number of rich folk likely to get richer if it passes.

10,000 is is an educated guess at the number of both rich and poor folk who will be arrested next year if it doesn’t.

Some people who are basically in favor of legalizing marijuana have a problem with that 10 number. I don’t. Those that do seem to actually have two problems. One is the number itself and the other is that the owners of the 10 cultivation centers that Issue 3 would authorize are already known. A limit of some sort sure seems reasonable. Can anyone really believe that going from completely illegal to unregulated and unlimited is realistic? Maybe 10 isn’t the perfect number but I don’t know what is. I guess 15 would be better and 5 would be worse but 10 is what we are offered. Taking some of the edge off of that number is the fact that, unlike marijuana laws in Washington state, Issue 3 includes provision for home growers.

That the locations and owners of those 10 cultivation centers are defined as part of the ballot issue seems a little tougher to swallow. For some reason, making pot legal without simultaneously anointing financial beneficiaries of the move sounds nicer. However, unless you’re the state legislature, getting an issue on the ballot requires a lot of signatures and getting those signatures requires a lot of time and money. Sometimes the effort is paid for by a non-profit group of concerned people and sometimes it is paid for by people who will directly benefit. Ohio’s recent legalization of gambling in a few locations operated by a few companies is a good example of the latter approach. Much like the business interests who backed the casino campaigns, a group named Responsible Ohio financed the effort to get Issue 3 on the ballot and the campaign promoting it. I initially thought having the financial winners predetermined was a big negative but I now think differently. The Responsible Ohio investors have taken a risk and they stand to benefit. It’s all in the open and is actually rather refreshing in these days of massive no-bid government contracts and the all too frequent uncovering of kick backs and “pay to play” government-business relationships. If you’re even remotely OK with giving out-of-state companies license to operate the only four casinos in the state, you shouldn’t have a problem letting ten Ohio based companies turn a profit growing pot.

Those investors have given Ohio voters an opportunity we would not otherwise have. Yes, the nation’s attitude towards marijuana is changing and it seems likely to eventually become legal throughout the land. Even though there is no one with the required resources poised to get a “better” issue on the ballot next year or the year after that, it theoretically could happen. By defeating Issue 3 we could keep those money hungry opportunists from winning their bet. Doing that, however, could easily mean another ten or twenty thousand people being arrested for doing something we don’t really think is wrong. The 10,000 I tossed out as an “educated guess” at the beginning of this post comes from the well reasoned article  here. The article is certainly worth reading but to quickly tie the guess to facts I’ll share that the number of arrests for possession of marijuana was 11,988 in 2012 (the most recent year available). The rate may have gone down but 10,000 is in the ballpark. Somebody is going to make money from the legalization of marijuana. The best case imaginable is that some angel comes along and gets a perfect legalization issue, which somehow assures that only good guys benefit, on the ballot in 2016 so that the current situation lasts just one more year. Putting 10,000 people in jail to keep 10 rich guys from getting richer seems neither kind nor wise.

I mentioned that getting issues on the ballot requires a lot of signatures “unless you’re the state legislature”. That’s a reference to Issue 2 which was added to the ballot by the legislature. I at first thought this might be a good thing as it was presented as disallowing monopolies. It quickly became clear, however, that it is really aimed directly at Issue 3 and I can’t see any good in it at all. Ten independent companies are hardly a monopoly and any attempts to indulge in monopolistic practices can be dealt with via already existing laws. If 2 passes and 3 fails, things stay the same and cops keep arresting people. Same thing, obviously, if they both fail. If both pass, at a minimum things will get hung up in court for some time (and probably make some lawyers richer) and a common opinion is that the passage of 2 would negate the passage of 3. The only clear way to stop at least some of the anti-marijuana insanity is to vote “No on 2. Yes on 3”. To do otherwise is a near perfect example of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

That last number, 40, has nothing to do with marijuana, monopolies, rich folks, poor folks, or cops. 40% is the average voter turnout in the past 10 off-year elections. That sucks no matter what you’re smoking. The only way to guarantee that your vote doesn’t matter is to not use it.

Naissance All Over Again

I think I attended the very first Ohio Renaissance Festival in 1990 though it’s possible that my first visit was in ’91 during the festival’s second season. It was great fun regardless of when it happened. I visited Willy Nilly-on-the-Wash, the fictional home of the festival, a few more times during the next decade then I stopped. I have no idea why. I was never a regular. I never went more than once a year and doubt I ever went two years in a row. Every two or three years seemed about right until it somehow dropped completely off my schedule. I’m sure I haven’t been there since at least 1999 which means that yesterday was the first time in the twenty-first century that I visited the sixteenth century. It’s changed.

I heard something on the radio about the festival just before it opened this year and decided I really should check it out. It runs for eight consecutive weekends with each week having a theme. There is a Pirates Weekend, a a Barbarian Invasion Weekend, and other fun sounding themes including OktoBEERfest!. This was the only weekend I had free. It’s Romance Weekend. By buying my ticket online I saved $1.14 (20.81 vs. 21.95). I wondered whether it was worth it but once the car was parked it became clear that I had done the right thing. My print-at-home ticket let me go right through the entrance on the right instead of standing in one of the lines on the left.

orf_06orf_05orf_04People in period dress (more or less) are everywhere and it’s not always easy to tell if they are officially part of the show or just highly motivated patrons. I’m only half sure the lady shopping for new cutlery is an amateur and even less certain about the others. I’ve never been actually confronted about photographing someone but I have had a few hard looks. It the look comes before I’ve fired the shutter, the shutter remains un-fired. At this sort of event, the exact opposite is more likely. When I took the second picture, I was actually targeting that magnificent beard but the lovely lady beside it noticed me and made sure I got her best side.

orf_07orf_08orf_09Thrill rides are powered by gravity or muscle. There are, of course, weight limit and “you must be this tall” signs but those aren’t the only restrictions.

orf_12orf_11orf_10Music is plentiful and good. There is even a genuine honest to goodness hurdy gurdy.

orf_13orf_14orf_15Actually, entertainment of all sorts is plentiful. One of the perennial favorites is the Theater in the Ground (a.k.a. Mudde Show). I caught a a performance of Dante’s Inferno and yes he does. They somehow talked a lovely lass from the audience into playing the role of Beatrice and much to my amazement kept her quite clean. The narrator didn’t fare so well. I lingered behind to get a picture of the bare stage.

orf_17orf_16Knights on horseback are every bit as popular as men in mud. There are full-tilt jousts several times each day and before each joust the knights demonstrate some of the skill involved by charging past their squires and plucking rings from their fingers. The lances used are considerably smaller and lighter than the ones they will use in the actual joust.

orf_18orf_19orf_20Although I was quite happy to get it, my seat for the joust wasn’t the best. It was easy enough for me to look past the array of lances but that might be a little tougher in the pictures. In the first picture they are just about to meet. In the second and third thay have just met and some fairly dramatic things are happening. I suppose most folks would simply post some video from their smart phones but I’m a bit more old fashioned and have created a couple of triptychs. One begins with that second photo in which the lance of the knight on the white horse has just snapped. The second begins with the third photo where the knight on the black horse is about to lose his lance.

orf_23orf_22orf_21Though bigger and better than when I last saw them, the joust and mud theater have been part of the festival since its beginning. The human chess match was new to me. I didn’t really follow things closely or understand all the rules but it is obvious that captured pieces do not just leave the board/field willingly. Note Elizabeth Regina watching the game in that third photo. The queen’s presense is often felt throughout the festival. I had encountered her shortly after entering and snapped a few pictures of her and her entourage. She spotted me and paused as she passed. There is an “official” photo of the queen that appears on the festival website and in brochures. I borrowed it to pair with mine.

orf_24This is, as I said, Romance Weekend so I’ll end with this touching image of two smitten youths, with odd curly things on their heads, sharing a scarf.

Something Abe Said

rvtroybFALSE – I am very much a disciple of Snopes.com but it never occurred to me to check this particular quote there. I should have. When someone referenced the quote on Facebook, the following was included as “also shared”. Thanks, Facebook. Questionable Quote’s – Lincoln’s Prophesy

Somewhere in my memory was the knowledge that Abraham Lincoln had uttered the words “this cruel war”. I thought it might be something I could fit into my post on the blog by that name so I did some searching. Abe used the phrase more than once and he was not the only one to use it. In the end I didn’t reference any Lincoln quote in that post but I did find some. I’m going to use one here to produce an asynchronous blog post that involves neither a trip I’ve taken nor something I’ve owned. Here’s what Lincoln said in a November 21, 1864, letter to Col. William F. Elkins:

We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. . . .
It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.

rvtroycThere is a discussion of the quote’s authenticity here. The photos are of Seward Johnson’s colossal Return Visit displayed this summer in Troy, Ohio.

Trip Peek #34
Trip #32
IL 66 Run

pv20This picture is from my 2005 Illinois 66 Run trip. The three day outing started with an early morning wet drive to Indianapolis that led to a somewhat drier drive to the Luna Cafe in Mitchell, Illinois, to connect with a group of Route 66 fans to drive to Springfield, Illinois. Pre-planned activities more or less ended with an overnight in Springfield but a portion of the group continued north the next day and that is when the picture was taken. It shows some of the remnants of a bridge that once carried US 66 over Salt Creek near Lincoln, Illinois.

Trip Pic Peeks are short articles published when my world is too busy or too boring for a current events piece to be completed in time for the Sunday posting. In addition to a photo thumbnail from a completed road trip, each Peek includes a brief description of that photo plus links to the full sized photo and the trip journal it is from.