Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Look Mom, I'm High!

Mark-Paul Gosselaar played Zach on "Saved by the Bell" and went on to TV roles as cops, as well as racing NASCAR-style cars to benefit kids with cancer. Not exactly your average poster child for marijuana.

Gosselaar just guested on George Lopez's show, and since he is Dutch, Lopez remarked, "They're very liberal with the herbal stuff."

"Yeah, they like to get high," was the immediate response (to audience cheers). Gosselaar recounted that he got high in Amsterdam with his mother when he was 18, although she tried to say she wasn't (but in a really high voice). Lopez countered that when he was 14, he went out to dinner with his grandparents and had to drive home because they both got hammered.

Asked if by Lopez if he ever Twittered under the influence, Gosselaar answered, "I've twittered while I'm loose." Lopez suggested, "Let's get your mom, let's all get some hash and tweet high." Sounds like a great idea. Except instead Gosselaar demonstrated how to shotgun a beer, with Lopez joking, "Now drink responsibly..."

Last year Gosselaar appeared as a hot bartender who succumbs to Nancy's charms in Weeds. His mother Paula is Dutch-Indonesian.

So far a poll at Lifelime.com shows Gosselaar's revelation makes him more, not less loveable (by 60-40%).

Gosselear isn't the first young stud to admit to smoking with his parents. Matt Damon grew up in a community house with his child psychologist mother and his stepfather, and said on BBC's Johnny Vaughan Tonight, "The first time I smoked was at home with my mother and stepfather. They were like, 'If you are going to do this, we'd rather you did this with us.'" Damon appeared in "Oceans 12," filmed in part in an Amsterdam coffeehouse.

Debbie Reynolds suggested she and daughter Carrie Fisher try grass together, but instead Carrie experimented with a friend and later, Harrison Ford, whose ultra-strong (hallucinogenic-tobacco-laden?) pot "did me in."

So let's count: three adults, two who smoked pot with their parents and don't have drug abuse problems; one who didn't and does. Frank Zappa once asked, "Do you ever get drunk with your kids?" meaning (I think) do you ever treat them like adults? I would ask the same about pot: do we teach our about kids proper, respectful use or do we expect them to learn (or mis-learn) about adult behaviors on their own?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse - A Talent Denied

UPDATE Aug. 23, 2011: Amy Winehouse's Death: No Drugs Found [only Alcohol]

Street art in Mar Vista, CA from JenLaVita
I didn't think I'd be writing another obituary so soon...and for one so young: Amy Winehouse is dead at 27 of unknown causes. Prodigiously talented, Winehouse also had a huge weakness for alcohol, harder drugs, and the men who used them. She reportedly showed signs of early emphysema from chain smoking cigarettes and smoking crack cocaine.

After her 2003 debut disc Frank hit in England, the singer took three years to bring out her next one, saying she smoked a lot of marijuana during that time. When Back to Black was released in 2006, it was a monster hit in England and the U.S. too.

Transcending R&B, soul and jazz with her powerful vocals, Winehouse's "Rehab" was inspired by 60s girl groups with the modern lyrics, "They tried to make me go to rehab, baby...no, no, no."

She was banned from entering the U.S. to pick up her Grammy for the hit in 2008, ostensibly over a minor pot bust in Norway. By then she'd been sent to rehab after the London Sun newspaper posted a grainy video on its website allegedly showing her smoking a crack pipe and talking about taking ecstasy and valium. She won five Grammys that year, including Best New Artist.

Winehouse was again denied entry into the U.S. in 2009 after she was arrested again for slapping a photographer, making her unable to perform along with Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen and others at the Coachella festival in Indio, California.

She died with 2.5 million Facebook fans, and countless others. Tony Bennett, 84, who recorded with Winehouse, is one of many who have expressed sadness at her passing. American idol Kelly Clarkson wrote, "I'm incredibly sad....I have been that low emotionally and mentally and that is overwhelming....Sometimes I think this job will be the death of us all, or at least the emotional death of us all."

In her title track from Back to Black Winehouse wrote:

I love you much, it's not enough
You love blow and I love puff
And life is like a pipe
And I'm a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to black.

In 2007 Winehouse told London's Daily Mail about her hit single "Rehab" and album Back to Black:
"I wrote those songs three years ago but that doesn't seem to matter. People still think I smoke a quarter a day. But it's not even a factor any more. I stopped about two years ago. My drinking has replaced weed. I still have a problem. Well, I have had problems with booze…" Too bad she didn't stick with something safer.

ADDENDUM: Has anyone noticed that Sean Hoare, the 47-year-old whistleblower in the News of the World phone hacking scandal, has also been found dead in his home of "unsuspicious causes"?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

RIP Betty Ford

I'd just blogged about Betty Ford; today I read she's died at 93.

A former Martha Graham dancer, Ford had back problems and got hooked on the painkillers she took, along with alcohol. Though she is known for her drug abuse treatment center, she had a sensible outlook on marijuana.

Asked by Morley Safer as first lady what she thought about her children possibly using marijuana, Betty replied, "I think if I were their age I probably would have been interested to see the effect." She compared the use of marijuana at the time to her generation's consumption of beer.

(Source: Betty Ford, The Times of My Life, 1987)

UPDATE: AP's adieu to Betty by Connie Cass and Linda Deutsch has a beautiful lead:

Betty Ford said things that first ladies just don't say, even today. And 1970s America loved her for it. According to Mrs. Ford, her young adult children probably had smoked marijuana - and if she were their age, she'd try it, too....She mused that living together before marriage might be wise, thought women should be drafted into the military if men were, and spoke up unapologetically for abortion rights, taking a position contrary to the president's. 'Having babies is a blessing, not a duty," Mrs. Ford said.'

By contrast, CNN's David Frum wrote a nasty column about her and the "Me" generation (which was a whole lot better than the "Greed" one that followed).

UPDATE 2022: Michelle Pfeiffer played Ford in "The First Lady" on Showtime.