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Sunday, 18 April 2010 00:00 JennyPop
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"Early, tell me more 'bout California."

"Let's see. One thing, people think faster out there on account of all that warm weather. Cold weather make people stupid an' that's a fact."

"I guess that explains why there's so many stupid people 'round here."

-Kalifornia

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It all depends on your comedic make-up, your ability to compute and process dark humour plus your general filmic Intelligence Quotient. Is Kalifornia funny? No. It is, in fact, as any Guy Ritchie-driven character will tell you, bloody brilliant. It's also become far too close to home for me. I've got to get back home, back to Kali because, Jebus, there are an awful lot of stupid people 'round here.

P.S. Nobody here thinks I'm funny.

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Tuesday, 06 January 2009 00:00 JennyPop
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Jennifer Susannah Devore in the Washington, D.C. snow

Happy New Year, Bonne Annee Nouvelle, Nuovo Anno Felice e Godt Nytt År!

As I am only this very moment coming out of my Holidaze and trying to excavate my sleepy Muchness, I fear I am merely scribbling something here so as not to have leftover Christmas ramblings and imagery come Spring Break. ("Great. This is just what I want to do on Easter Sunday ... take down Christmas decorations." -Roseanne)

As I am currently being distracted by an episode of Lie to Me, pending episodes of Deadliest Catch and Modern Family, the distinct possibility that Speaker John Boehner and/or Chris Matthews may weep about something on the news later today (probably both about Sarah Palin), an espresso that is growing horridly tepid and a overall, nagging feeling that I should probably go for a vigorous four-mile walk down the beach, I believe I shall state that This Was All She Wrote. Perhaps a nice musing to round things off this day? Hmmm.

Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

-the Very Necessary Hunter S. Thompson

 

Post Script: My blog may appear a wee wonky and rattled in the coming weeks. I am growing ever-frustrated with its photo-sidebar; it is my goal to integrate all apropos images within associated postings ... peut-etre, I will even move my blog altogether. Je ne sais pas.

 
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 00:00 Jennifer Devore
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Happy campers "were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read a newspaper more often than their less-chipper counterparts." -Jeanna Bryner, senior writer, LiveScience.com

Photo courtesy of Medhi / Jiří Zralý at Flickr

After a thirty-plus-year study by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, scientists discovered that out of their 30,000 test subjects, the unhappiest of folks watched 30% more television than their happier counterparts: 19 vs. 25 hrs./day. I can totally see this being true, for some. Knowing a few real downer-types, they do tend to cite immersing themselves in the most vapid of viewing to make their lives simpler. "I don't want to have to think, just laugh at stupid stuff," tends to be the default answer. That being said, I have to say that, like with most things, I'm the anomaly and I'd like to offer you just a glimpse of my orgiastic media consumption habits.

 

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Wednesday, 10 September 2008 00:00 JennyPop
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The best way for me to describe California's medical marijuana market is to quote the dear Grandmama of Designing Women's Miss Suzanne Sugarbaker. (I do not have my own grandmother to quote, so I am left to rely upon the whimsical philosophy of my TV grannies.)

A cat can have kittens in the oven, but that doesn't make 'em bisquits. True dat, Granny S.

As regards medical marijuana and having recently learned that more than a few acquaintances of mine have forayed into the medical marijuana market, kitten-bisquits have been coming to mind more and more often. First thing first, though: no, I don't smoke (anything), it's all totally gross to me. It's stinky, you look stupid actually smoking it (maybe tea-form would be more genteel), it's grody for your hair, nails, complexion, etc., and quite frankly, I think it just makes you dorky, not magnificently deep or incomprehensibly creative: think the Family Guy episode in which Peter and Lois enter a talent show, helped by a little smoky inspiration, and can't figure out why their gorgeous folk ballad "God Would Totally Do a Fat Chick" doesn't win. All that aside, yes, I am full-on in favour of legalizing pot. Why not?

 

(Please note all following statements are made without any medical education or even personal knowledge of said-drug usage: just observations of an Earthling from California who's had drug-culture exposure with everyone from stoners to growers to my father, not a stoner or a grower, but a clinical and forensic psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents, and drug abuse and will be the first to tell you those cheesy PSAs for a Drug Free America don't work. He says they just make his patients laugh.)

Tobacco is legal and as vile as it is, as long as you don't smoke it, chew it, spit it or puff it in my direction, what do I care? Hard alcohol is legal, caffeine is legal, wine and beer are legal and we shan't even get into the dearth of prescription drugs and their destructive side-effects that are legal. In short, it is neither mine nor my government's business which drugs you choose to consume. I know, I know, "marijuana is a gateway drug". Maybe so, but so are Southern Comfort, cheap white zin and frosted blue eyeshadow and those are all available at Rite-Aid. Still, this is not really a defense of marijuana usage, just the freedom to use. Like I said, it's stinky and the illegality part of it can be distressing, depending on where and with whom you're hanging out for the weekend. Yet, overall, it's the Scooby-Doo drug. Come on, how threatening are Kelso and Shaggy? If you've ever witnessed dudes on pot over a Vegas-weekend versus the same dudes fueled by Jack Daniels, you'd get my point. Pot may be one of the mildest drugs out there. Users are more apt to crank out some silly, garage-band tunes about love-starved gorillas (case in point barelycivilized ) visit than they are to end up in the Oceanside jail after a night of differing opinions with fresh, scared-to-death-of-actually-going-to-war, Camp Pendleton recruits. Nevertheless, on to my main point. . .really. I don't mean pot makes them or even all users stupid. What I mean is that, like any drug, pot just magnifies an individual's traits, talents and shortcomings. If you're brilliant, it heightens that; if you're a mildly functioning idiot, that too is heightened. I've spent some time with stoned geniuses, on one occasion in fact, with a Nobel Prize-winner (chemistry, I believe); and I've spent some time with stoned idiots. Oy vey! The idiots!

Actual ramblings overheard by one, said-idiot: "Can you imagine the life of an aminator? Like, to be an aminator on The Simpsons, or even, like a voice-guy on an aminated show. Like, you could never get fired for gettin' old and un-hot 'cause you'd never get old, like on the TV. Like your voice would, but nobody would ever see that and you could still be drawn hot. Plus lemons. Lemons are totally used in water in nice restaurants. Sometimes lemons are in dishwashing soap, too. And laundry soap." The idiot-in-question followed this with a long, blank stare at an ESPN loop that had been replaying the same six stories for nearly two hours.

What truly bothers me about the medical marijuana market (the Ganja Game, I'll call it since it kind of sucks to type out "medical marijuana market" each time), is that it's not a bisquit. It's a kitten. Call it a damn kitten! I think it's the political lexicon that bugs me most. Reviewing some of the language of Proposition 215, it incorporates so many nebulous and vague guidelines that in the end, it's really one strong Purple Urkel-induced Senate session from full legalization. Just do it, already, Washington dudes. The federal government still deems possession, cultivation and sales illegal; states like California deem it totally legal under the Ganja Game and that varies from county to county. Like a strip club or a house with too many ferrets, enforcing the nitty-gritty details of the law all comes down to the nosiness of a bored neighbor that night and the disposition of the night court judge. In the midst of it all, the dispensaries (the Body Shop-style "pharmacies" where you can get your stash, which I imagine is a far cry from the seedy little bungalows of Long Beach where folks use to buy their junk) must refrain from advertising, relying mostly on word-of-mouth business and being forced to change locations frequently due to fearful landlords and the threat of the occasional fed raid. Of course, raids rarely, if ever, end in an arrest of anyone. Patient records are left alone, dispensary owners and staff are left alone; only the pot is taken to the klink. Why bother with a raid at all? If the feds were smart about it, they'd see the value in legalizing all aspects of pot.

 

 

Thirteen states, including our Golden State, have passed medical-marijuana laws and, as of 2006 and according to State Department statistics which cite U.S. marijuana crops at more than twenty-two million pounds, marijuana had ejected corn from number one slot as the U.S. leading cash crop. (Hmmm, ethanol doesn't seem to be the answer, maybe pot-powered vehicles? No more road rage, that's for sure. "Hey, man. 55? That's cool. I can drive that." "Dude! What if we did, like 35?" "That'd be awesome! Wait a minute. What if we did, like, 15?" "Dude. That's awesome." )

Back to my main bugaboo: the lexicon. Let's break it down, shall we?

"Dispensary" is what used to be the shanty house in Cerritos or upscale, gated condo at Fashion Island in Newport where you went to buy your stash. Now, it's an Aveda-esque salon with everything from an armed guard to a hot counter chick/receptionist in a tight Weezer t-shirt and a tramp stamp, to a gelato bar featuring varieties of marijuana-laced, icy goodness paired with your choice of marijummi bears, pot jerky or Jolly Rancher-style ganja licky sticks. Customers even gleefully cite the socialization factor of the dispensaries, "It's so nice to get out of the house sometimes and talk to such cool people!"

"Primary care-giver" is loosely described as any grower so designated as such by the "patient" themselves. I know a "patient" or two and hear stories of their "primary care-givers". Nice jump in professional status from, say, bag boy at Whole Foods or night cashier at Stop-n-Go. In 2003, Calif. State Legislature passed Senate Bill 420 (note 4.20 is also widely considered International Get High Day. . .funny) to make a bit clearer how patients were supposed to obtain pot they could not or would not be able to grow on their own. The new law permits a "primary care-giver" to be paid "reasonable compensation" for any "services" to a "qualified patient" "to enable that person to use marijuana". Hmm.

"Patient" is the most vague of all and from whence this all stems. A close friend whom is now a patient and a grower went through the initiation like so: whilst cruising the Venice Beach boardwalk one day, he wandered past a shop with a carnival barker out front yelling, "Medical marijuana doctor now seeing new patients!" So, duh, he went in, completed a brief "exam" and twenty

minutes later walked out with a laminated, official, California Medical Marijuana Patient card: his license. He also found the dispensaries to be too expensive, so, under the protection of his license, he now just grows his own and what he can't smoke, sells to various dispensaries in his area. ????? WTF?! Legalize it already!

 

In the earliest writings of the original law, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 spells out usage for those suffering the most heinous of human maladies: cancer, AIDS, Multiple Scelrosis, epilepsy, chronic pain and down the line to other ailments from anorexia to glaucoma. Hear, hear! These should be the first to the dispensaries. Marijuana has long been the cure that aids the ill; so has Guinness since the mid-18th Century, and especially in Ireland during WWI. (But, that's another blog. Mmmm. . .it's a meal in a glass. It's also a drug. Savvy?) However, the list of patient specificity in the bill ends with "or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief". Well, duh! To quote the de rigueur response of Christopher in The Sopranos, "That's it. I'm gettin' high."

If it's really a viable, medical industry now, how about letting doctors, pharmacists or other medical professionals name the varieties. I mean, really. The stoners are still making up the names. The anal-retentive film buff working at Edwards Cinemas? (You know him, he likes to correct you with things like, "Uh, no. Heather Graham's first big roll was not in film, but on television. She was Cindy on Growing Pains.") The guy in Dana Point hooking bait for tourists on day boats at the harbour? Your sister's loser boyfriend and his buddies working at Stater Brothers? They're making up the names: Pancake Throatjam (nice), Nazi Deathcamp, Fuzzy Ballsack? When my dermatologist start prescribing facial creams called Totally Jammy Facial Awesomeness, I'll believe Pancake Throatjam is legitimate.

Dorky adolescent nomenclature aside, the language parsing and discrepancies of law enforcement throughout the state make the whole thing a carnival shell game. It's like watching Hillary through the primaries. "What works today?" One county allows a grower to have three plants; another allows up to ninety-nine. Doctors are legalized in this process; pharmacists are, to date, illegal participants. Licensed patients and growers can carry up to half a pound (that's a freaking lot!!) at all times; transporters, the folks who actually run the raw goods from Northern Cal down to SoCal are still outlaws, forced to hide their stash under dirty laundry and organic apples to hide the scent. Come on, people. Legalize it already and allow adults to make their own decisions and their own mistakes.

Well, I don't know. I've clearly rambled on and on here. Maybe I could use some clean and calm sativa-based, Blueberry Kush to help me better organize my thoughts. No thanks, I'll stick with my government-approved double espresso. But, if I wanted it, I should be able to go get it as easily as I could go get an absinthe across the street at The French Talon. (Yes, absinthe is now legal in the U.S. After an arbitrary change in designation from the Alcohol Tax and Tobacco Trade Bureau from "drug" to "drink", we all get to enjoy an absinthe if we want. The chemical compound everyone thought made VanGogh go insane, remember the ear?, well, recent research showed that thujone, the compound in question, was in fact not that present. So now, we get thujone-free absinthe, a far less potent derivation of the hallucinogenic wormwood than that of 19th Century lore, but legal nonetheless.)

I guess my final point is this: quit with the semantics and just legalize it across the board already. "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Make it safe for everyone. Why can't everybody go to the Aveda salon? There are indeed true patients whom really need the curative powers of pot. There are folks whom have tried everything under the sun to alleviate the pains and dysfunction of illnesses such as MS or epilepsy or real, life-hindering anxiety and neuroses. At the end of the day, many say pot helps them to calm down and live a bearable life without the side-effects of legal, prescription drugs. The guy who's sick of driving to Hesperia at two in the morning to score some weed and suddenly describes himself as a "patient" so he can obtain his official license is a vile insult to the chap with AIDS or stomach cancer who can barely get through the night without finally killing himself. There are already doctors in place; there is already a mechanism in place to "recommend" marijuana as a medical option. Why not just make it mainstream finally? What a waste of resources and time to hunt down Cindi-with-two-I's-and-a-heart-over-the-I's and the "patients" who wander into her shop daily for their "prescriptions"? I mean, they're eating gelato pot and reading their "Red Sonja" comic books or tattered copies of Ayn Rand just to get themselves ready to endure yet another 2:00 shift ripping ticket stubs at Edwards or shaking salt on the curly fries at Carl's Jr. (Mmmm) By the way, let me be fair; not all stoners are losers killing time between dead end jobs. There are loads of smokers who fall into the professional category, who are responsible, successful, creative, fab folks. In fact, there are well over two-hundred thousand physician-sanctioned pot-smokers in California alone. That doesn't even include all the old schoolers out there. Chances are it's far more likely that I, the non-smoker, am the odd one out. It's like being a vegetarian; I'm always the only one I know. Pot is just fine, but it's kind of like Payless Shoes; it's just not for me.

Dispensary statistics show that approximately 40% of patients are "true sufferers". Yes, that leaves open for debate what constitutes "real pain". Point granted, but I'm not debating that here. All the more reason to just legalize the damn stuff already and stop with the etymological crap. Some of you reading this may be medical doctors, one of you for certain is. (Hey, Meeeechele!) Know that I am not stepping on your Blahniks. I do not pretend to have any clue about the chemical-stages of drug intoxication or the physio-dangers of any drugs from espresso to heroin. I just know that if a state can validate a chosen drug so openly with such vagaries, as it has not done so with, say, cocaine or LSD, and nobody's suggesting they should, why play the wordgames? People self-medicate all the time and whilst it may not be smart, they do: martinis, cigarettes, 100-year old scotch, bad fashion. Who is our government to say Tequila shot-good/Doobie-bad? Stay out of my bedroom and stay out of my studio. My government does not know what's best for me. I don't want them investing my social security dollars (Wait a minute, I should have had some jobs at some point to get social security, huh? Damn.) in the stock market, God no!, and I don't want them telling me in what I may partake when visiting with friends. Again, I know it doesn't sound like it, but I don't want to especially partake in ganja gelato or Tubby butter on toast, but I should be able to without fear if I so choose. I do, however, plan very much to try some absinthe, and that's my choice. (Probably another blog.) It's my body, it's Cindi-with-an-I's body and it's the poor fellow with MS's body. I think we know better than Congress how to feel good. Of course, what do I know?

 
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