Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Biography Calls Hillary An "Enthusiastic" Pothead

National Review's blog reports that Weekly Standard Online editor Daniel Halper's new book Clinton, Inc., which hits bookshelves today, quotes an unnamed friend and law-school classmate of Hillary Clinton who says: "If she hasn`t acknowledged it everybody else will tell you: She was an enthusiastic pot user."

According to the Washington Post, when asked by Halper how often Clinton smoked, the answer was, "I don't know, I'm not in the position to say that. But it was just, she was known to be one of the people. And please don't cite me on this by name ... if you talk to other people who knew her reasonably well in law school they will tell you that most people at that time, an undergraduate or in law school, would have been pot users, ranging from the casual and social to the enthusiastic. I think she would have been more enthusiastic, certainly more than Bill."

At least two earlier biographies of Clinton peg her as a pot smoker. Clinton denied ever smoking pot in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour last month.

Clinton did an interview with Larry Mantle of KPCC public radio in Southern California on July 22, where she said when asked about marijuana legalization:

"Honestly, I don't think we've done enough research yet to say what the effects are and what they could be on different people with different physical or psychological issues, different ages — yes, medical first and foremost, we ought to be doing more to make sure that we know how marijuana would interact with other prescription drugs and the like. But we also have to know how even medical marijuana impacts our kids and our communities.

"But the states are the laboratories of democracy, and we're seeing states pass laws that enable their citizens to have access to medical marijuana under certain conditions, so we have the opportunity to try to study those. And then Colorado and Washington have proceeded to permit recreational use. And at the same time, we're seeing the beginnings of important criminal justice reforms.

"So I'm a big believer in acquiring evidence, and I think we should see what kind of results we get, both from medical marijuana and from recreational marijuana before we make any far-reaching conclusions... I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states, so there can't be a total absence of law enforcement, but what I want to see, and I think we should be much more focused on this, is really doing good research so we know what it is we're approving."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

RIP James Garner, Actor and Marijuana Lover

Ladies, if you're looking for the perfect man, you needn't go much further than James Garner. Tall, dark, and handsome with a sexy, soothing voice and a laid-back style, it turns out the actor, who has died at the age of 86, was "a life-long user of marijuana, celebrating its emotional support and physical help with his arthritis."

Know for his TV roles in Maverick and The Rockford Files, and for films like The Great Escape, Garner made an "explosive revelation" in his 2011 autobiography The Garner Files: that he has smoked marijuana for much of his adult life.

Garner wrote: “I started smoking it in my late teens. I drank to get drunk but ultimately didn’t like the effect. Not so with grass. It had the opposite effect from alcohol: it made me more tolerant and forgiving.

“I did a little bit of cocaine in the Eighties, courtesy of John Belushi, but fortunately I didn’t like it. But I smoked marijuana for 50 years and I don’t know where I’d be without it. It opened my mind and now it eases my arthritis. After decades of research I’ve concluded that marijuana should be legal and alcohol illegal.”

Still, he said: “I’ve had to work hard at that easy-going manner you see on screen.” (I think the marijuana helped.) He's also being called "witty," "wise cracking" and "understated" in his obits.

Those are three more pothead traits, as was his political activism: In 1963 he marched on on Washington for civil rights along with Diahann Carroll and Paul Newman (pictured), and he said his favorite role was in the anti-war film The Americanization of Emily.

During an interview with Charlie Rose, Garner talks about being a "card carrying liberal" and says he met his wife Lois Clarke while working on the Adlai Stevenson campaign. Rose concludes, "There is something uniquely and to-his-bone American about James Garner." (He was right: Garner's grandfather was a full-blood Cherokee.)

Sally Field said Garner was "hands down" the best kisser she worked with; reportedly Doris Day and Julie Andrews said so too. Jean Simmons once said she wished her husband, a heavy drinker, was more like Robert Mitchum, another laid-back actor who was also a lifelong marijuana smoker and enthusiast. Like Mitchum, Garner—born James Bumgarner as the son of an Oklahoma carpet layer—was on his own at an early age, drifting through various jobs until he was discovered by an agent while working as a gas station attendant.

On a 1974 "Rockford Files" episode with guest star Shelly Fabares, Garner as Rockford searches his couch cushions for his car keys, and instead pulls out what looks like a pipe. Glancing furtively at his client (Fabares), he pockets the pipe and puts his hand back into the couch, pulling out a bra instead.

"What's My Line" panelist Arlene Francis pronounced Garner the most-liked actor ever, and a 1985 profile called him "immensely likable." Loved by the ladies, he was also a man's man: a three-time pace car driver at the Indianapolis 500, he served in the Army during the Korean War and earned two Purple Hearts. As an actor, he earned many more hearts.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Paul Mazursky, Who Brought Marijuana to The Movies

Before Easy Rider portrayed marijuana smoking on film, and long before American Beauty, Peter Sellers played an uptight Jewish lawyer whose life is pried open by Leigh-Taylor Young's pot brownies in 1968's I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!

It was the breakthrough film for Paul Mazursky, who wrote and nearly directed the cult classic. Mazursky died yesterday, and all his obituaries linked him with marijuana because of that film.

Growing up in New York, Mazursky worked as an actor, appearing in the seminal Blackboard Jungle (1955). Venturing into stand-up comedy and writing, he wrote for Danny Kaye before moving his office to the Sunset Strip, where the hippies he saw inspired his Toklas screenplay. He followed up with his directorial debut, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), based on experiences he had at Esalen. In that film, unlike Easy Rider, the women (Natalie Wood and Dyan Cannon) also get in on the pot-smoking fun.

In his 1999 book Show Me the Magic, Mazursky describes going to the jungle to take Ayahuasca, and mentions that a shamanic healer used tobacco smoke, "not weed," during the journey. Although he describes himself as a "Greenwich Village hipster" (and his mother as "a hipster, a gypsy, a beantik, a hippie"), he doesn't mention that he smoked marijuana himself. Perhaps it went without saying.  Or maybe he preferred psychedelics.

In the book, he describes a very interesting exchange with famed director Federico Fellini, when Mazursky was planning a trip to Italy and wanted to know whether to visit Florence or Venice. "Do you want marijuana or LSD?" Fellini asked. "Firenze is like marijuana. You will be very happy there. Venezia is not like any place you have ever experienced. She is like an acid trip." "I think I'll take Venice," Mazursky replied.

George Segal and Kris Kristofferson, playing the new boyfriend of Segal's ex-wife, smoke together and form a goofy bond in Mazursky's 1973 film Blume in Love. In his feminist-minded An Unmarried Woman (1978), a 15-year-old girl (Lisa Lucas) matter-of-factly states, "I smoke pot sometimes" upon meeting her mother's new boyfriend, played by Alan Bates. "I do too," he responds. "Got any?" she asks.

Among the remarkable films Paul Mazursky left us are: Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Moscow on the Hudson, Harry and Tonto, Enemies: A Love Story and Moon Over Parador. He even took a stab at Shakespeare in Tempest  (1982).

Mazursky's voice opens the movie Antz (1999), playing the psychiatrist who diagnoses the dissatisfied ant Z (Woody Allen) as the insignificant creature he is. But Paul Mazursky was more like what Z becomes, the little guy who broke the mold. 

The 2019 movie The Last Laugh, wherein Andie McDowell turns Chevy Chase onto marijuana and more, and Richard Dreyfus tokes and jokes his way through, is dedicated to Mazursky.