Saturday, September 28, 2013

Susan Molinari in MPP Video of Republican Pot Smokers

Molinari with fellow youthful pot experimenter Newt Gingrich.
MPP is back on the celebrity beat, this time with a video of Republicans who smoked pot in their youth, to the tune of VIP Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were."

The two women in the video are Sarah Palin and former New York Congressperson Susan Molinari, now in DC again lobbying for Google.

Molinari was caught falsely denying her collegiate pot use in a 1992 interview, but in 1996 admitted she tried it "less than a handful of times," adding, "It was the wrong thing to do." Asked why she lied, she said, "It was an initial panic to a question I believe every person in America dreads." Yeah, like anyone today applying for jobs or food stamps.

Another prominent Republican woman who might have made the list, though her admissions are vague, is former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. Also, Texan Republican precinct chair Ann Lee, who is ramping up the debate with her group RAMP (Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition).

In a poll just released, a slim majority of California Republicans (53%) remain against marijuana legalization while Independents and Democrats support it at 60-64%. Maybe John McCain's jumping on the legalization train because of his wife's Cindy's past problems with prescription drugs (she'd have been better off on pot). If this upward trend continues, Bill Hicks' bit about why God made Republicans may soon no longer apply.

Too bad more female politicians don't feel safe admitting to their marijuana use, maybe then we wouldn't have policies that mean an undocumented immigrant convicted of possessing pot may be more likely to face detention than one who’s been convicted of rape.

Molinari appears in the terrific documentary Miss Representation, which also interviews everyone from Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein and Condoleeza Rice to Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Jane Fonda and many more. A must see!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Carolyn Cassady Steps Off the Road, Leaves Her Record

It's been reported that Carolyn Cassady, Beat-generation author and wife of Neal, has died at the age of 90.

Neal Cassady was the real-life inspiration for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's On the Road, the 1957 novel that set the beat generation in motion. He is also the "N.C., secret hero of these poems" mentioned in Allen Ginsberg's Howl.

In her book Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg (William Morris, 1990), Carolyn recounts how Neal turned her on to marijuana, telling her: "Now darling, listen to me. You must have no fear, hear me? It is completely harmless, I promise you. All the tales you're doubtless heard are entirely false, perpetrated by Anslinger and his boys to keep up employment in the narcotic squads. All this does is heighten your sensory perception, awaken your own true awareness and speed up your thought processes while giving the impression that time has immeasurably slowed. You'll see more and see better…colors…patterns…you'll hear every note of every instrument, simultaneously. You'll be amazed at how much you usually miss…You think you've heard music? You've never heard it until you hear it on tea….Then, after a while, we'll dig into that delicious pie you've made and which we were too full to eat, and you'll taste as you never have before…pure ambrosia, you'll see."

He put her on a program of smoking "Tea" every night for a week, so that she could see get accustomed to the effects and wouldn't have to worry about getting paranoid. He taught her how to inhale it and to stop after a few "respectable puffs." Carolyn writes, "Everything he had described proved true, my favorite being the sense of extended time. After savoring the pie, we lay flat on our backs by the phonograph, the music vibrating every cell. . . .I enjoyed the time extension and the second-by-second awareness, as well as the physical feeling of well-being, but I never got over the fear of being caught in an illegal act." After getting too "stoned" (feeling immobilized) at an event, she gave it up, saying she resented "control of my mind by an outside agent."

Neal worked for 10 years as a brakeman on Southern Pacific Railroad to support Carolyn and the three children they had together, but he never tamed his wild ways, cheating on her with other women and men (namely Ginsberg), and taking off to Mexico and elsewhere to score weed. She had an understandable and sanctioned affair with the more gentle Jack Kerouac while he lived with them in San Francisco, and the three shared many nights of Tea [marijuana] and conversation. She chronicled the time in her book Heart Beat: My Life with Jack and Neal (1976) which was made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek as Carolyn. Kerouac cast her as Camille in On the Road (played by Kirsten Dunst in the 2012 film adaptation); Carolyn is also the inspiration for Evelyn in Big Sur.

Months after On the Road was published, Neal was arrested for giving away a few joints at a North Beach party and sent to prison for two years. After Neal was arrested, Carolyn said in an interview, “The very next morning the Mercury-News printed this story. This eager-beaver reporter talked to some police chief--and none of them knew nothing yet--so they make up this wonderful story about how Neal was part of a gang that was importing marijuana from Los Angeles and Mexico on the Southern Pacific trains. That’s why he could never get his job on the Southern Pacific again. Even though they retracted it, they said it didn’t matter--it was in the paper. So they never took him back, and that’s what killed him.”

After prison, Neal took a job at a tire factory and Carolyn chronicled how he escaped more frequently into smoking pot and taking benzedrine and morphine as well as "anything else available....In the next four short years I saw him pursue death with every breath of life." He joined the Merry Pranksters on some of their LSD escapades, and it's interesting to read the account of that self indulgence from the point of view of the wife left behind. On his way to getting his old job back at the railroad, he was re-arrested and ended up back with the Pranksters instead.

On February 4, 1968 Neal was found collapsed beside a railroad track in Mexico, after he had reportedly taken a barbituate and alcohol at a wedding. He died there four days before his 42nd birthday. Kerouac, who told Carolyn he would be joining Neal soon, died the following year, after drinking himself to death.

Here's to Carolyn Cassidy, who survived and held her family together in the face of drug-war repression, and left us her story.

(Just found: A 1950s housewife takes LSD)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cue The Stubbly-Bearded, Reprobate Pothead Brother

"What's up with Anna?" Philippe and Paquin Puffing in Straight A's
Ryan Philippe started his career playing the first gay teenager on a soap opera and broke through in teen hits like I Know What You Did Last Summer. He was very good in Gosford Park, and in Anti-Trust (2001), a prescient edge-of-your seat thriller about computer spying with Tim Robbins as a Gates-esque character. I also liked Philippe in Homegrown, with Billy Bob Thornton as a pot grower in Northern California. (It got crazy violent by the end but had some good acting and scripting.)

In 2006, Phillippe played real-life Navy corpsman John Bradley in the war film Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood, about the journey of the United States Marines who lifted the flag at the battle of Iwo Jima. In a situation akin to Robert Mitchum playing a war hero in The Story of G.I. Joe and then getting caught with pot, Philippe was caught on camera puffing pot outside a Malibu restaurant in a 2007 Us magazine spread.

Philippe didn't go to jail like Mitchum did, but the next thing you know he and Reese split and now he's making movies like Straight A's, out this year and viewable on Netflix. In it he plays Scott, the irresponsible, near crazy pot-smoking brother who literally rides in on a horse to save the day (after the usual twists and turns, heartfelt scenes with kids, and "will he show up this time?" nail-biting moments).

Anna Paquin plays Katherine, the wife who settled for the less challenging brother William (Luke Wilson, in a funny twist since he played the pot dealer in 1997's Bongwater). Katherine is uptight and prone to freaking out, while Wilson is clueless and hot to trot (yes, it's written by a man). But Paquin is good in the scene where Katherine and Scott smoke pot by the pool. Afterwards, she suddenly has the urge to go to the Farmers' Market and cook for her family, and is sweeter and more inclusive with her daughter. (As the Marijuana Moms are now saying on talk shows everywhere, smoking pot can actually make you a better parent.)

The scene  is reminiscent of Owen Wilson getting Sarah Jessica Parker stoned in The Family Stone(d), Paul Rudd in My Idiot Brother, or Bette Midler in The Women. The shaman shows up to set everyone straight, or at least asking the right questions, so now what?

There only two ways movies like this end: everyone goes back to their "responsible," capitalist and mind-numbingly boring ways, or someone dies. Since Straight A's is set in Texas and both a Black and a Latina are depicted as servants to the rich whities that inhabit the film, it's not hard to figure out that this movie isn't headed towards a realistic end. Still, it has some good moments, the kids are terrific, and yeah, Phillippe is as hot as Louisiana ashpault.

He's currently in post-production a film he wrote and directed called Shreveport, based on his experiences filming Straight A's there. According to Wikipedia, he has been attached to a number of possible future film roles, including Chronicle, a film "about two childhood friends who reunite to launch the biggest marijuana dealership in New York City." I'm not that interested in stories about smugglers and dealers, but it sounds at least a bit more interesting.

I can't find any connection between marijuana and Paquin, but interestingly, the Urban Dictionary says:
Derived from the Central Valley in California, Anna Paquin, Anna, or just Paquin basically means pack a bowl (of marijuana). Comes from the actress Anna Paquin, and the words "Pack one". When you want to pack/smoke a bowl you say "Paquin", "Anna", "whats up with Anna?", etc. Any form of the name will work.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

OOOOOOOOOOOprah!

Last year's Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users from MPP had only five women on their list, and a female didn't show up until position #21.

This year's a little better, with 11 women included and Oprah Winfrey coming in at #2, between Presidents Obama and Clinton.

Winfrey was asked when she last smoked marijuana on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" on August 16 and replied "Uh...1982." Host Andy Cohen then said, "Let's hang out after the show" to which she replied, "Okay. I hear it's gotten better."

At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant and began doing the news part time at radio station WVOL. She was then both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news at WJZ-TV where she became co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking.

By her admission, Winfrey did much of this during the time she smoked pot, until the age of 28. In 1983, she began to host AM Chicago, taking the show from last place in the ratings the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. The rest is herstory.

According to Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography, drug use was so prevalent at the Nashville station when Oprah worked there that management removed a vending machine "after they discovered it had been rigged to dispense marijuana." On a special pre-taped show in January 1995, Winfrey tearfully admitted she did cocaine in her past, according to Kelley to stave off a lawsuit by a former boyfriend who alleged she addicted him to coke. Oprah's book club endorsement of former heroin addict James Frey's A Million Little Pieces blew up when it was uncovered Frey fabricated most of the book.

Like Obama, Winfrey is lucky she never got arrested for a youthful pot offense, or she might have had a much lesser career, like 2008's Miss Teen Louisiana Lindsey Evans.

Showing up next on MPP's list is Lady Gaga at position #20. Last year, Gaga missed the cut, coming in at #52 (even though she was probably more influential last year). Jennifer Aniston (last year's #38) follows at #25, and Angelina Jolie dropped from #24 to #28 (maybe because she says she doesn't like pot). Sarah Palin dropped the furthest, from #14 on last year's list to #39 this year.

Martha Stewart is new to the list, coming in at #29 after she also joked with Cohen about knowing how to roll a joint. The venerable Susan Sarandon joins the list at #33, with an early admission uncovered by VeryImportantPotheads.com

Also newly added are Madonna (#42), Miley Cyrus (#45) and Rhianna (#47). Maya Angelou, who was the top woman on the MPP list last year at #21, dropped down to #37, and Whoopi Goldberg, who made last year's list at #44, has dropped off entirely.

Some obvious omissions to the list are: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr. I sure hope someone asks Hillary Clinton soon if she smoked.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why Nancy Reagan Was The True Traitor to America (Not Jane Fonda)

Fonda as Reagan. (We like her look better as a hippie.)
Jane Fonda is playing Nancy Reagan in a new movie, "The Butler" and the right [sic] wing is predictably apoplectic about "Hanoi Jane" playing the wife of their sainted spokesmodel. One theater in Kentucky even refused to show the movie in protest.

But who is the real American traitor?

When Ronald Wilson Reagan* beat Jimmy Carter for president in 1979, the Iranian hostages that ruined Carter's re-election chances were released within 24 hours. Only later did we find out it was because Reagan had made a secret deal to sell weapons to Iran in exchange for their release on his watch. After his election, Reagan subverted Congress by exchanging arms for cocaine in Nicaragua, and dumping it in Los Angeles's American-American neighborhoods, leading to our crack epidemic.

And all the while Nancy Reagan was the face of the Just Say No to drugs campaign in the US. "So that while Nancy Reagan was saying 'Just Say No,' the CIA was saying 'Just Fly Low,'" joked Paul Krassner.

Adding to the hypocrisy, according to Kitty Kelley's book Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography (Simon and Schuster, 1991), the Reagans smoked a joint proffered by Nancy’s chum Albert Bloomingdale at a dinner party with Jack Benny and George Burns around 1968. (Bloomingdale reportedly got the joint from a hooker; he was later accused by his longtime mistress Vicki Morgan of riding her piggyback and whipping her.)

Kelley wrote that Nancy siphoned off $3.8 million from her antidrug charities into her own foundation, and an unnamed senior White House staffer speculates in the book that she was on amphetamines to curb her appetite because she was so energetic. But apparently when Kelley's book came out, it was the charge of smoking marijuana that the Reagans found most insulting, because that was the incident they answered publicly.

In 2008 Nancy endorsed John McCain for president. Now that the tide is turning, and polls are showing a majority of Americans are for marijuana legalization, McCain has said, “Maybe we should legalize.”

Will Nancy follow? She’s been a champion for Alzheimer's awareness and in 2009 she praised President Obama for reversing the ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research. There's still time for her to figure out, as the song says, "Them Hippies Was Right."

*Each of those names has six letters

Also see: The Disastrous Legacy of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" Campaign. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blurred Lines and Blunts

Evans and Thicke blurring the lines of propriety. 
One of the dancers in the ludicrously popular Robin Thicke video "Blurred Lines" turns out to be Lindsey Evans, the Miss Teen Louisiana who was dethroned in 2008 after she and her friends walked a check in a restaurant and left behind her purse containing a small bag of marijuana. 

I predicted a High Times pictorial in Evan's future but instead, according to Wikipedia, she went on to become Playboy Playmate of the Month in October 2009. She's now changed her professional name to Elle Evans and works as a model in Los Angeles. 

One wonders if Evans might have had a more legitimate career had she not been popped for pot. 

Thicke has now gone on to dethrone another teen queen who likes her weed, Miley Cyrus, with his raunchy song, which contains the lyrics,

Baby can you breathe? 
I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me...

as well as the lovely sentiment,

Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain't bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two.

A feminist parody of "Blurred Lines," in which the models are men in underwear, was briefly removed from YouTube for "inappropriateness."

UPDATE: Cyrus came in like a wrecking, twerking ball to take Thicke out at the European MTV awards.