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NYT's Maureen Dowd OD's On Marijuana And Blames The Candy

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cannabs edibles maureen dowd

There's nothing like trying something before writing about it. And that's what New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did recently -- and not without some lingering effects. For an article she was writing on Colorado's legal marijuana culture, she decided to try some of the "edibles" which contain cannabis. So far so good.

So, she bought a caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar which she said looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars she used to love as a kid. After she took one bite, then another, she didn't notice anything happening. Perhaps she was disappointed but for whatever reason, she decided in her impatience to gobble down the rest of the bar.

She waited, and then it happened. The effects began. In her NYT article, she writes:

But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

Based on that experience, she's come to some conclusions. The biggest one being that the entire marijuana industry was set up for potheads, people who smoked frequently. This nascent business has to educate new or first time users prior to selling them the edible goods so people will know what to expect to feel.

That's not a bad idea. But her article goes on to condemn and point out the dangers of legalization, even trying to equate her unfortunate experience with people jumping off buildings and kids eating marijuana-laced goodies and ending up with irreparable harm. These are possible, but not probable. And the reason is, she OD'd because she lacked common sense.

The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

So in essence, she took 16 times the amount she should have taken. No wonder she got herself into a bit of a problem. If she had bought a fifth of scotch and drunk the whole thing, she would have gotten sick or drunk or both on that too. There's no suggested servings printed on a bottle of booze. So I find it a bit disingenuous that she faults the experience on her naivete. She's been around. She knows you don't go from one bite to the whole bar, just as you don't go from one shot glass of Glenlivet to the whole bottle.

Her suggestion that if this had been alcohol, she'd have known better doesn't really hold water. She claims in her article that people know you have to be careful in how much you drink, when only an idiot or the most simpleminded would think that taking too much of a marijuana laced edible wouldn't lead to some ill effects.

But that said, I do think the public has been so scared by lies and innuendos--the Reefer Madness syndrome--that more education of the public might not be such a bad thing. But Dowd's reckless accusations that it was the lack of full labeling or the implication that she needed more knowledge to safely ingest is a disservice to an industry. If she was new to this kind of purchase, why didn't she ask when she bought the candy bar how much she should take to feel some effects? The next day when she asked, she was told. A bad assumption on her part made an ass of her, not a better investigative columnist.

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Video- The Daily Show: Rand Theft Caught'O

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A New Sexual Level In Journalism

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The Daily Texan

There are various institutions that are well known for their journalism programs. Among the most prestigious top five are Columbia University School of Journalism, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (home of the Peabody Award), NYU's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Harvard University. A fifth member of this quintet of top schools is the the only one outside of the Eastern seaboard. It's the University of Texas, Austin, home of the Longhorns.

U of T puts out a daily newspaper called the Daily Texan (the largest student newspaper in the country) and it's got a lot more to it than cattle prices and home remedies for for saddle sores. Those kind of breaking stories aren't going to get you too much notice in Austin. For that you should go to Texas A & M -- become a Texas Aggie.

U of T, where you're as likely to give the Hook 'em horns hand gesture as you are a fist bump, publishes an award-winning newspaper. This rag has got a venerable history—

According to the paper's site:

The Texan has won more national, regional and state awards than any other college newspaper in America and counts 10 Pulitzer Prize winners among its former staff. Also among it's alums are Walter Cronkite, Lady Bird Johnson,  Bill Moyers, and Liz Smith.

Pretty heady group, wouldn't you say? Well, tradition is on hold this year. The editors decided to veer into brave new territory: sex columns.

Sex Love Texas

Move over Moyers, Smith and Cronkite. Make room for: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline.

Yup, that's right. The Red state which on one hand boasts their sexy Dallas Cheerleaders and on the other gives you misogynist Governor Rick Perry and his anti-women's rights laws has chosen to break new ground in the Daily Texan. Maybe they're ready to shed their conservative nature for a more balanced and enlightened look at the world. Maybe they're ready to take their heads out of their oil-well submerged thinking and join us in the 21st century. And like most things in Texas, when they do something, they do it BIGGER.

The DAILY BEAST:

Safe sex should be something people should want to talk about openly and honestly,” says Kelsey McKinney, the associate managing editor of the Daily Texan. “It’s something that can be important—but also can be a little bit more fun than our breaking news.”

This semester, the paper welcomed four anonymous columnists to its Life & Arts section: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline (no relation to this author). They each have a gimmick:

Frank promises “a single gay man’s perspective on the issues that face us all”;

Sally is a “lady on the streets but a freak in the sheets”;

Veronica describes her adventures on how she wants a “UPS Rush Delivery on Sex”;

and Caroline is the one to champion for a steady partner and assure her readers that things don’t have to get boring just because you're in a committed relationship.

Man, reading my college newspaper at Columbia sure wasn't like that. I think we got more reviews of Chuck Berry or Jefferson Starship at the Filmore East and occasionally an anti-Viet Nam commentary. Then we might read about a professor who was nominated for a Nobel Prize. We rarely got a glimpse into human sexuality. And certainly not like this.

But the U of  T columnists take their "spreads" very seriously.

It certainly makes some people uncomfortable and those people have given us a little bit of backlash, but really we enjoy what we are doing and we know we’re not doing it just for fun—we’re doing it for a purpose,” says Sexy Sally. “We try not to pay attention to the haters. For the most part, people who grew up in Texas—we didn’t have a very good sex education and it’s not typically something parents are super open with their kids and I think that’s why it’s made some people feel kind of uncomfortable.”

And they do their research as all good journalists are taught to do. Take for instance Committed Caroline:

“I didn’t know my own body at all, so how could I be ready to share it,” wrote Committed Caroline in her column on masturbation. “So I learned. Girls in Texas aren’t taught how to pleasure themselves any better than they’re taught where to get birth control, so I learned with my hands under the covers by myself where to touch myself and how.”

Now before you accuse me of putting that quote in just for shock value, you're right. But shock for a different reason than you might think. I'm stunned that in any state in the US there isn't enough "sex education" or the program is so limited and clinical that kids are reaching college age and don't know their own bodies. What can the possible outcomes be? Not good ones.

The lack of proper sex education, whether at home or in the school, preferably both to maybe counter-act the lack of parents accurate information, is a must. Without it we're heading for more sexual assaults, unplanned pregnancies and yes, even communicable diseases.

What the Daily Texan is doing should be commended. When you draw attention and shed light where it usually don't shine, you're performing a service. All of that last statement can be taken as a bad joke or in the spirit in which it's meant. Let's educate. Let's not cut funding for programs or school papers. They're filling in many of the gaps that we, as parents, have overlooked or chosen to ignore.

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The Times And Words Have Changed

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words

Etymology -- the study of word origins.  It's interesting how word usages have changed over the years and new phrases, words or expressions have come into colloquial usage out of the old. Cool. Chill. Psyched'. These are words which meant something totally different than when they were initially used.

As quickly as some come in, others go out, Sputnik, bee's knees, cat's meow. Try using those on a Millennial and see how much head scratching goes on.

Technology has added to our vocabularies as well: snail mail, USB, Tweet.We communicate in shorthand too. Who hasn't used TTYL,  NSFW, ROFL? NE1?

I'm working on a screenplay that is a period piece, from the '60s. So, I needed to immerse myself in a bit a research about words and slang of the time. And there were a lot of words used there that if I used them today, Laffy would surely get on my case and caution me to be careful. That word or phrase might offend. And she would be right. But sometimes knowing how something came into being allows you to understand why today they're PI (Politically Incorrect - Thank you Bill Maher) and maybe 50 years ago that term wasn't considered offensive.

So I thought I'd share some basic etymology with you, from my research for the upcoming film. I have to thank Huffpo for bringing some of these to me.

Ghetto:

Whether referring to a person or to a lifestyle, using "ghetto" as an adjective is meant to indicate "low class," and along with it, obvious racist origins. Aware or not, the user is essentially implying that minorities are low class.

Peanut Gallery:

A home for hecklers," usually used in a joking manner -- what comedian hasn't asked an unruly audience to keep it down in the peanut gallery?) Formerly though it referred to the upper balconies where African-American people sat in in segregated theaters.

Hip hip hooray:

Boy, I hadn't seen this one coming. It's derived from the German "hep hep," which was originally a shepherds' herding cry, so the origin itself was not racially charged. However, during the Holocaust, German citizens began using it as a rallying cry while hunting for Jewish people in the ghettoes. (see,that word ghetto again, but this time as a noun.)

Call a spade a spade:

It just depends on the era in which you used this. The phrase, essentially meaning "to explicitly call something by its rightful name," entered the English language way back in 1542, (no, I can't remember what day or month) and initially had absolutely no racial connotation whatsoever (that I do remember).

It wasn't until the late 1920s that "spade" changed from referring to the gardening tool to being a slur towards African-Americans (its first public appearance as such was in Claude McKay's 1928 book "Home to Harlem").

He Gypped Me:

The word "gyp" now means "to cheat or swindle." It is essentially a condensing of the word "gypsies," who throughout history have been stereotyped as a group that cheats and swindles people.

And finally one I'm sure I used as a kid and surely would not use the same way now:

Gay:

A common utterance to indicate someone was light, breezy, fun and exciting. Though it may still mean that to some from older generations, it, like Virginia Slims, has come a long way, baby.

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