The time has come to say Goodbye to The Buckthorn Man. It took throat cancer to cure me of my schizophrenia — I am no longer The Buckthorn Man. This is hard for me to swallow because I’ve always identified with the following sentiment expressed by Thomas Paine:
I undertake nothing, but what I believe to be right; I abandon nothing that I undertake.
In September 2017, I was refreshing myself in the waters of the Scuppernong River at my favorite bathing spot below the bridge near the marl pits, and it was such a gorgeous, hot, day, that I went in for a second dip. When I emerged, my right ear complained that it was full of water — you know the feeling — and I could not clear it. I tilted my head, poked my ear and rubbed my neck and there discovered an enlarged lymph node. I recognized immediately the squamous cell carcinoma that had attacked me like an invasive species back in 2011 and 2016, was back. Did the Spirit of the Springs kindly warn me that I was in trouble again?
This time, the cancer manifested in a tumor at the base of my tongue and it was deemed inoperable. I delayed beginning the recommended chemotherapy and radiation treatment for 2 months while I explored the option of using Cannabis to “cure” the cancer. This would have required moving to a state where I could get Medicinal Cannabis, specifically, a remedy currently in use for the same type of cancer I had consisting of a 50/50 combination of THC and CBD oils. I simply could not organize myself to quickly move to California, Oregon or Colorado. By the time I finally returned to Froedert Hospital to begin the treatment, the tumor was 5 times bigger and a much larger dose of chemo and radiation (both sides of my head and neck) would be required. I finished my chemotherapy and radiation treatments on 1/4/2018. I’m healing slowly… hope it is gone for good this time.
This woke up The Buckthorn Man to the fact that…
It is always necessary that the means that are to accomplish any end be equal to the accomplishment of that end, or the end cannot be accomplished. It is in this that the difference between finite and infinite power and wisdom discovers itself. Man frequently fails in accomplishing his ends, from a natural inability of the power to the purpose, and frequently from the want of wisdom to apply power properly. The Age of Reason, By Thomas Paine.
… and I decided to hang up the chainsaw; I needed to change my life. The noise, toxic fumes, exposure to toxic herbicides, long grueling hours in all weather, sun exposure, pressure I put on myself, stress on personal relationships etc. etc… may have contributed to weakening my immune system thus opening the door for the cancer to re-emerge. This is, admittedly, speculative, but I believe it is time to say Goodbye to the Buckthorn Man.
I am still committed to contributing in some way to make the world a better place and I’ve decided to focus on local issues here in Milwaukee. You may have heard about the “Opioid Crisis” and the corresponding Federal, State and Local Government responses, all of which ignore the root cause of the problem, which is drug prohibition and its manifestation as the War On Drugs. Please read: The Harmful Side Effects of Drug Prohibition, by Randy E. Barnett, for an excellent exposition supporting this thesis, and Lysander Spooner’s “Vices Are Not Crimes”, a brilliant anti-prohibition essay.
The Common Council of Milwaukee created the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force in an attempt to address the issue, and I have been attending as many of their meetings as my health allowed. You can read some of my musing on this issue here and here. My latest comments to the Task Force are below and you can view all of my comments via this Youtube Playlist.
Lately, I have been converting old history books, and some relatively new ones to audio. I moved any interesting footnotes into the text where they were referenced — so you hear them in context. I went over the texts with a fine-toothed comb to remove any stray characters, correct any typos and take out anything we don’t need to hear e.g., the book title repeated on every page. So, the recordings are pretty clean. You can download them via the links below.
My plan going forward is to work on my back-yard garden, continue following the business of the Milwaukee Common Council and County Board looking for opportunities to get involved, and studying history.
I probably won’t “See You At The Springs” again but I hope you enjoy the work I did there — while it lasts.