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I don't know the strength of the marijuana which Zonk and Zip are growing, but what's available in the UK these days is certainly very much stronger than what was available 20 years ago here. In the old days, marijuana induced all those benign qualities which Carl Sagan eulogised, but now it leads often to aggression, paranoia and cannabis-induced psychosis. I have seen an enormous difference in the behaviour of my grandsons' generation of weed-users, compared with that of my sons, 20 years ago, and my friends back in the late 1960s and early 70s.
Love the strip, Garry, and I've been loving the storyline with Alex. But as a just newly non-postdoc myself, I have to cringe at the characterization of Alex's new job as having a "decent salary." A first year postdoc gets a salary of $39,200 and few guaranteed benefits. With a little overtime, it's likely she made more at Starbucks. Thanks for the fun!
Yaaaaaaaay, Alex and Toggle! Whoot! Whoot! Beyonce and a bad-ass grant, all in one sweet day. You go, kids! Whooohooo!
Despite living in a red state where the devil marijuana is sehr verboten I know many people who avail themselves of weed with varying degrees of frequency. Pot is not really my drug of choice as I am not much on smoking, but brownies can be nice. If South Carolina would just stop dragging its knuckles on anything progressive or in the best social interest it might create a nice source of revenue for the state, since Nicki Haley turns down federal money right and left when it comes with social policies she finds anathema. The climate here is great for pot cultivation, too. In my opinion, we need a Weed Party to come in and overthrow the Tea Party.
Ah, myths and legends. The myth of the supposed 420 geniuses may be more delusion/illusion than myth -- perhaps especially Self Delusion. And the legends of past musicians lives... As one who has been surrounded by such myths in his given profession (professional musician, jazz specifically, "T.J. Martin" an online name), and having met those legends face to face, and seen the results of their "habits," allow me to say: "Poppycock!"
I've been around it all my life, and seen the end results far too many times. Seen what it can and does lead to more often than not. And, simply stated, I know far too many casualties -- and way too few who survived intact a story that is in fact... fact. Add to the above that it is a simple medical fact that any smoke, of any kind, inhaled on a regular basis, can and does lead to cancer, from mouth to lungs. You're doggone right those of us with a critical and discerning mind are concerned.
The old way of doing things was admittedly a failure. But this "new" way may prove to be even worse. Have a look at the news from Northern California; environmental damage galore from growers, crime rampant and including organized crime, tourists being harassed , robbed and worse. All this reminds me of a face-to-face I had years ago with the Jazz Legend Miles Davis -- no stranger to the weed and other drugs himself -- who, upon hearing the Legend I was working for at the time had banned me from all drug use, and I do mean all, said: "That SOB just saved your ******* life, kid!"
The most progressive country with respect to marijuana is now Uruguay, where it will be legal by April next year.
Legal pot in Colorado? Look what it did to the Broncos...
When I was in Amsterdam some time back I saw that citizens have been working for years on legalizing people, specifically refugees and other immigrants being blocked and jailed by the government. Their slogan is "Geen mens is illegal," which means "No one is illegal." We could do with more of that on immigration, voting, and marriage.
All these messages we keep getting about how harmless marijuana is are concerning me. There is no such thing as a free high. The latest medical literature indicates that, though there has never been an overdose death directly attributable to MJ, it is often present in people who OD. Furthermore it impairs cognition, psychomotor performance, attention, concentration, short term memory, risk assessment and ability to complete complex tasks. These effects last up to 24 hours, much longer than the subjective mood change of feeling "high," due to accumulation of marijuana in fat and recirculation through the liver. Marijuana users often think they are no longer impaired after a few hours, when the mood-altering effects resolve. A trial with licensed pilots found that smoking marijuana impaired performance on a flight simulator for up to 24 hours, and most subjects were unaware that they were still impaired. Drivers using cannabis are up to seven times more likely to cause accidents than drivers not using any drugs or alcohol. I haven't even touched on the risks of inhaling products of combustion into one's lungs. Yes, alcohol and tobacco are legal despite having some of the same risks, but let's not pretend that marijuana is harmless. It is not.
There are certainly people like Louis Armstrong with enormous talent and functionality and perhaps a load of attending pain who can do a modicum or more of pot -- and/or booze and/or a lot of other indulgences -- and keep on coming. Maybe those spices are necessary to make it happen for certain of these souls, or maybe not. But for a huge hell of a load of less focused and capable individuals, those goodies do tend to make mush of their intentions, and flatten out whatever they had going for them. And then they go for the sugar bowl too!
Our great example of a productive pot-smoker is the venerated Louis Armstrong. He and Lil Harden Armstrong are the Father and Mother of Jazz As We Know It. While Louis was touring the world, and amazing it with his intelligence sublimated into the musical art of improvisation, he was lugging around a typewriter. Which he used to write his memoirs, which were published around 100 years after his birth. From which, we discover that Louis smoked marijuana every day for breakfast. We may deduce that marijuana use in a regular dose, in this way, is similar to starting the day with a cup of coffee. It may help you work, and it may also help you avoid many more unhealthy habits, such as refined sugar. Anyone wishing to check out this evidence may read Louis Armstrong's autobiography.
Re ZIP: I agree. There are many Carl Sagan 420 people all around us.
Your portrayal of Zip addressing the town council uses a tried and true cliche of the zoned-out stoner. It perpetuates a myth that pot smokers are dim, and supports a prejudice that helps sustain prohibition. Many people don't realize you can use small amounts of pot and still be 100% functional (similar to having a couple drinks). I get it, it get laughs, But I stopped laughing years ago when I realized how much damage prohibition has done. People have arrest records that will follow them throughout their lives, people are fired from jobs due to casual pot use during off-hours because of drug testing. Families have been torn apart because pot smokers are deemed unfit parents. Are you still laughing?
Granted, chronic use (of any substance) can cause neurological impediments. But casual pot use can be relatively harmless, and at times inspirational. It would be great if you could portray a responsible pot user who finds their life enhanced from mild doses. Even Zonker's recent success is being portrayed as the dumb luck of a clownish character; the drop-out who finds a use for his farm skills. There's a long list of people who casually use pot and have contributed to society. It would be great if you could add that to the narrative to balance the damage perpetuated by the cliched jokes. (I absolutely love Doonesbury and have been a huge fan since the 70s.)
Rule of thumb for Zipper: If it would be inappropriate to be drunk there, it's inappropriate to be stoned there. There's a time and a place. Work, city council meetings, and class are not places to go while you're stoned.
The complaints about the timeframe of references are very similar to those made in regard to crossword puzzles. The average age of crossword addicts is 'advanced,' hence there are tons of popular culture references that may go back as far as the '20s. We old guys (I'm 79) have a hard time with the latest in pop, cable, and texting. Younger heavy users regularly complain when a particular puzzle doesn't have cluing/answers more current the the '70s. But even I consider a reference to Breaking Bad a fair expectation!
I would argue that those of us who have become famous via television are no less a part of Our Culture than those of us made famous via literature. For instance the line "That old man in that book by Nabokov" from the Police's Don't Stand So Close Too Me. Once a person, or character, becomes part of our culture, failure to understand the reference is ignorance of our culture, regardless of the source of the fame. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Yup, young Zip's doing a great job expressing many of the concerns most of us (even us Independent-liberal-leaning types) have here in Colorado as to how this'll all play out in the end. So I'm wondering; did Zonker take his wares to the "Stuper Bowl" for the interstate competition the WA and OR growers had in conjunction with the game? Truth; many times it's much stranger than fiction, or even a comic strip, can be.
I have four TVs in my house but no cable, and get more channels than I can use over the air. Thus, I am somewhat TV illiterate, and Doonesbury Blowback is as close as I get to social media. Despite all the online and on-air chatter about Breaking Bad, it took some prodding before I caught on to the reference. Like the old joke goes, I never missed that show; never watched it, never missed it. (The same goes for most "hot" shows on air.)
Making a reference to Breaking Bad isn't the same as making a reference to something like 2 Broke Girls. And Mr. I-Don't-Have-A-TV should remember that Sturgeon's Law applies to books just as much as television -- if not more so.
This week's strips are perfect. Say hello to Zipper, the poster child for recreational marijuana. Word to the wise, Zippo -- never sample your own product.