ALL THAT IS NEW….by Beth Rankin

ALL THAT IS NEW….by Beth Rankin

BETH RANKIN

Yesterday I realized that I have not written anything on this blog for about a month. Just now “what” to write hit me, thanks to a conversation on Facebook. No, for a change, this will NOT be about politics.

It is about my new life as a pothead. Well, actually not quite a pothead. One of my Oregon friends thinks I may be the only cannabis user in Oregon who is not driving under the influence. This may (does) have its pleasurable effects, but this is not a recreational activity for me.

I was a senior in high school when someone close to me (who will remain nameless and blameless) introduced me to weed. That definitely was recreational.

In college the drug of choice was booze and that was illegal enough thank you. But I was an RA and would knock on the doors of the rooms where smoking was obviously happening and instruct them on how to use a wet towel. That was definitely pro-user activity.

In the late-1970s I lived in a city in the South and a friend invited me to his family’s home to watch Superman when it was first shown on HBO. He lit up a joint and offered it to me. I enjoyed the show and I don’t remember if I was uncomfortable driving home after, but since there is no memory about it, it must have been fine.

In the mid-1980s a friend a I went on a weekend getaway to her family’s vacation home in New England without any husbands or kids. Another friend handed me a small gift, as it was my birthday and told me to open it when we got to our destination. Inside a Sucrets lozenge box, several joints. It was a chocolate weekend.

That is not all, but the gist of my prior life with pot. Not regular at all. Never enjoyed when responsible sobriety was needed. Definitely recreational. 

Since then I heard sometimes that people with cancer smoked marijuana and it helped. It helped with nausea was one thing and when we were dealing with nausea from chemo issues in the 1990s, the meds the doctor gave took care of it, so no need to search out the underground market…probably available next door, right?

And then we moved to Oregon and they already had medicinal cannabis. The dispensaries were established and things were regulated. The referendum for recreational use passed with 56% of the votes. I suspect there were as many “yes” votes among the Baby Boomers as there were in the Millennials.

The legal requirements for legal grow operations, laboratories for testing, kitchens for preparing edibles, and shops for selling had to be worked out, so it took over a year after the law was passed before the recreational shops were open.

Today, some shops sell only recreational pot. Some sell only to people who have medical cannabis cards. Some sell both rec and medical. The medical side has different record-keeping to meet the legal requirements of that early law. I prefer to go to a dispensary that sells both as I am, at this point in my life, using the cannabis to help a medical condition.

 

 

I have not asked my doctor for a medical card. It is at least a 3-step process including an appointment with another doctor and can cost $800 altogether for people like me (not a veteran, on disability and elderly–I’m too young. LOL) The benefit: no sales tax. In Oregon we do not have a sales tax…except on recreational marijuana. (It probably was THIS benefit to the state financial coffers that convinced the “weed is evil” side to vote yes. After all, they can enjoy thinking the stoners are paying for their sin.)

Since I do not use a lot of pot over the year a card would be valid, I did not think the little bit of additional in tax would offset the fees.

 

 

So when I realized the last bit of canna butter was used up, it was time to go purchase something. Asking three different friends which dispensary they preferred gave me three places to check out. (There are about eight within ten miles, but only one state-run liquor store. The dispensaries were not really busy while that liquor store is always crowded.)

Anyone my age who purchased weed in the 70s and the early 80s purchased a sandwich bag (ounce) for $10. The pot in late 1970 was $40 for the baggie and was a strain known as Acapulco Gold. The baggies had leaf, stems, and generally some seeds.

Now you can buy seeds, you can buy bud, sometimes you can buy leaf (shake), you can buy pre-rolls. You can buy extract, you can buy creams and salves. You can buy candy. You can buy infused products like tea or oil. The bud is the most popular. The strains sell for about $200-400 an ounce (that sandwich baggie) so most people buy a few grams, sort of like heading to the store for a six-pack.

Me, I bought half an ounce. I prepared the canna butter yesterday and the gingered pear bars are out of the oven now, aroma wafting through the house.

Why do I turn to cannabis? Two reasons:

Simply, I am in pain almost all the time now. My stupid ski accident at age 19 was exacerbated by the bacterial memingitis I worked through about fifteen years ago. The pain in the knee started the next year and the doctor assured me it was “only” arthritis. For years Advil was my help. Then I switched to glucosamine in all its combinations. When we moved here almost four years ago, I started getting acupuncture and that helped me be pain-free for ten days. But last June I twisted my knee and have minor meniscus and ACL involvement. Two doctors say it is “only” arthritis. But a year later, I am not back to where I was before the knee twist and now having sympathetic pain on my other leg because of my screwed up gait. Again, if you are about my age, you may be feeling some joints now, too. I hope not.

Second, my asthma. I have been concerned with the Congressional shenanigans. I promised it will NOT be a political rant, but I feel I’ve been on the “am I going to die because I can’t afford medical insurance” roller coaster. My two medications that help me breathe cost $1000 a month out-of-pocket. Simply can’t do that. Can’t afford it. And THEN I started hearing how inhaling pot helps asthma. That’s insane! People with lung disease like asthma can not smoke!!! That’s why I make edibles. Smoke pot to help me breathe? Yes, it dilates the bronchi; in fact, I read a medical research extract dumbed down for non-medical readers that said it was the THC specifically that helps the deeper sections of lung dilate also.

Being Oregon, I got into a short discussion about pot at the UFO Festival in May. The guy handed me a joint, telling me it will help. (Yes, I love Oregon). Over three days I tested the concept and, yes, within a short time I could draw a deep breath without any “pulling” tightness. The next morning, still good.

Then my friends stepped in with their recommendations. One vapes. One gave me a bong. Decision made.

So, why did I write this? Because medical marijuana is available in twenty-nine states, while recreational pot can be (or will be able to be once they get it set up) in eight states. And, of course, your neighbor still buys his from his co-worker’s cousin, just like he always has. In other words, marijuana is around you.

And, yes, there are people smoking to get high or stoned. Just like there are people getting drunk or pissed on booze. And just as others seek their escape in street drugs.

But there are more people of all ages using the beneficial aspects of cannabis for a medical reason.

 

JUST PLAIN INTERESTING! (Pictorial)

JUST PLAIN INTERESTING! (Pictorial)

 

[Columnist with a View received the following set of pictures with commentary from a friend through Facebook. We are assuming they are in the public domain, coming as they did and being shared over social media. We do appreciate the origin (we suppose), which is the only source attribution:  www.yesemails.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVING MY ENEMIES by Judson Jerome

LOVING MY ENEMIES by Judson Jerome

 

I must love my enemies: I have made

so many of them. Whether I, drowning, flailed

rescuers, or, terrier-nervous, yapped.

defending God knows what from God knows whom,

or thought I was the jester, licensed to wound,

I drove you all away. I wanted room

to grow my crooked stem, so sprouted thorns.

or, as self-consuming candle, blindly burned

in guttering isolation, or vacuum-drained–

as a black hole does the sky–all warmth and light.

Emperor of sunny nursery play.

I took all as due, nor wondered how or why.

Pursuit of justice was a good excuse

to wear the jackboots of some public cause

and stab a friend for a stranger’s brief applause.

It simplified affection’s murky snarl

to make such clean incisions. I have hurled

babies and bathwater out for a better world.

But mostly I won your enmity with love

too fast too soon, my overwhelming wave

of self too bountiful, too gladly given.

To save yourselves from my self you were driven

if not to anger to politic escape.

I said I love you:  you foresaw a rape.

You must have loved me, enemies, to have left.

dreading the waste and smother of my gift.

sensing my naked need to be received.

Hard love withholds indulgence:  you withheld.

Such closeness both of us would soon have scalded.

You could avoid what could not be repelled.

Safer, of course, to love thus at a distance–

a dream of faces gone, but nearly kissed–

blending across the years without resistance.

yin lost in yang, and none knows when or how.

But there is safety even in my bower.

for I love you still–but do not need you now.

 

 

 

[Judson Jerome, born in 1927, grew up in Oklahoma and Texas. He taught at Antioch College from 1953-1973. His dozen books include volumes of poetry, books about poetry, a novel, a collection of verse plays, and works of social criticism, and hundreds of his poems, stories, essays, plays and articles have appeared in dozens of popular and literary magazines since 1955. Jerome wrote a monthly poetry column in Writer’s Digest, pointing out the frustrations of the market and the vanity of vanity publishing. “It was later that I remembered that self-publication is an ancient and honorable alternative. It won’t assure one of readers, but it at least scatters a few copies around for the ages to find.”]

TRUMP CLEARLY UNFIT FOR THE PRESIDENCY by L. Milton Hankins

TRUMP CLEARLY UNFIT FOR THE PRESIDENCY by L. Milton Hankins

The Legal Information Institute informs “The 25th Amendment, proposed by Congress and ratified by the states in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice-president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.”

Two presidents–Richard Nixon by resignation and Ronald Reagan by temporary incapacitation were subjects of the 25th Amendment.

It is time Congress and the Supreme Court seriously consider the mental “incapacitation” of President Donald Trump, declaring him “unfit for the presidency” and incapable of fulfilling the constitutional duties of the office.

Here’s why this writer suggests such a strong action:

President Donald Trump is a proven, pathological liar–to the extent that the American public, as well as leaders of foreign nations, cannot accept the president’s statements as reliable. As a matter of fact, The New York Times, PolitiFact, and I have catalogued hundreds of Trump’s public prevarications.

The president is incapable of carrying out the duties of his office. He has spent a major portion of his time in the Oval Office undoing the work of his predecessor. He obviously cannot work with Congress to move important legislation he promised during his campaign. He has failed to achieve a single, notable issue on his agenda except for the successful appointment of a justice to the United States Supreme Court.

 

 

Trump’s foreign trips have been unmitigated disasters! He lambasted NATO for its lack of contributions to defense spending, embarrassed foreign leaders, disavowed the Paris Climate Agreement, and declined to hold a single press conference. His one accomplishment, an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, was narrowly approved by the United States Senate.

Trump said during his campaign he would be so busy he would rarely leave the White House. He has spent nearly every weekend of his presidency far from the White House–most weekends at his plush Mar-a-Lago estate or golfing at various Trump resort locations.

Intentionally insulting the press and various personalities in the news media have precipitated a real breach between the president, news agencies, reporters and his own spokespersons. He calls the American press “the enemy of the American people” and regularly calls newspaper reports not to his liking “fake news.” The press is the only profession explicitly protected in the United States Constitution.

 

President Trump is legally and morally dubious. He is well-known for broken contracts, bankruptcies, and was sued for his role in the phony Trump University. He has been married three times, each time having a relationship with his future wife before divorcing his current wife. As a result, he has five children by three wives. Obviously, the Republican focus on family values has shifted dramatically!

Many other indicators favor application of the 25th Amendment, but perhaps most important is the fact that Trump, his campaign staff and, especially, Michael Flynn are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Committees of both houses of the Congress.

Never before would such a person have been considered for the presidency, or, tolerated in the highest office of the land. Dare the Congress and the Supreme Court much longer allow this unqualified individual to occupy the Oval Office?

 

  THE OVAL OFFICE

I’M FED UP AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE I ATE TOO MUCH by Beth Rankin

I’M FED UP AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE I ATE TOO MUCH by Beth Rankin

 

BETH RANKIN

About ten years ago something happened. I woke up.

I became aware that a lot of people were writing about the changes to our foods that had been going on since the mid 1990s and about how some illnesses also had a surge in diagnosis since that time.

The  skeptic in me says coincidence does not necessarily show a cause. The cautious part of me decided I needed to prove it to myself.

Having read about how some of the genetically engineered foods kills insects that typically infiltrate plants like corn by causing their stomachs to rupture, I began to think how my daughter, born in 1994, started developing something like irritable bowel syndrome before she was 20 years old. The doctor at the college health center recommended she have a colonoscopy which I wanted to schedule with my doctor when she spent the summer with me. He said, no, 19-year-olds should not need colonoscopies, and we made an appointment to talk with him. After hearing her symptoms and the history, he urged her to repopulate her stomach with probiotics and her symptoms eased. Smart man.

As I read more and more I decided we would switch to organic foods where we did not know a farmer who grew a specific food item. We decided to have a six-month trial and surprise, surprise, we have continued this practice for at least four years now. When we follow our own rules, we feel better. But we generally do not recognize that until we travel and end up eating “regular” food. And then the uncomfortable issues start again.

A few months ago the Federal government approved chickens being sent to China to be butchered and then sent back to American markets. What with past issues with pet food and baby food, I am not comfortable with any of the food grown in the United States going overseas for processing. Especially since the USDA eliminated the “country of origin” labeling also!

CHINESE WORKERS PROCESSING CHICKENS

Today I read that the milk industry has petitioned the FDA to CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF MILK to include aspartameTheir point is that it would not need to be on the label and sweet things would be “healthier” without sugar. (Oh, and since so many people are now aware of the ill effects of that artificial sweeter, the FDA has approved changing its name to “Amino Sweet,” so watch for that on your labels!)

For those of us who prefer to know what is in our food, this is unacceptable. Personally, I really can not, nor do I want to, have a cow. (Pun intended) But it is getting to the point where the ONLY way to control what you are putting into your body is to source all your food from farmers you know. Farmers who tell you their growing methods. Farmers who are more interested in health than becoming rich.

I really am impressed by ALL the farmers I know, whether they grow with organic practice or even if they grow conventionally. Farming is hard work. Yields are highly dependent on a huge unknown–the weather. And generally, farmers do not make much income. Long hours, low pay.

And yet, most of the farmers I have met are passionate about what they do. They may be exhausted, but they have the drive to keep on growing food for us.

We are extremely fortunate in Oregon’s Willamette Valley to have almost all our food needs met by local farmers. We need to go a bit farther for citrus and for sugar, but the foods we personally eat and the foods prepared in the kitchen of Can-Do Real Food, we support our local farmers as much as possible.

There are tons of diets that claim to offer a healthier body. No one size fits all, but many can lead to better health. But above all, start cooking from whole foods and leave the frozen foods with their high sodium and loads of preservatives at the store. Not only will you discover what foods really taste like, but you will feel proud that you can nourish yourself so deliciously.

Can-Do Real Food provides you preserved foods that have been made from local food raised on farms that are certified organic, bio-dynamic, or naturally grown or farms that grow in the organic style. Our only products that come from trees that have been sprayed are the hazelnut butters. Although new trees planted in the past year or so are a strain that is resistant to insect infestation, the mature trees must be treated or there would be no crop of nuts at all. All other produce used to prepare the recipes in the Can-Do Real Food kitchen are raised without any chemical treatment for insects or weeds. You may opt not to buy our products, but it won’t be because of added chemicals.

CAN-DO REAL FOOD

LOCAL HARVEST 

NO ARTIFICAL ANYTHING!

[Beth Rankin lives with her husband Graham in McMinnville, Oregon. An advocate of the production and processing of organic foods, she is the CEO of CAN-DO REAL FOOD. Rankin is also the publisher of a blog
“Going Places Can-Do Zero Waste” where this article first appeared on July 15, 2017. Readers are encouraged to check out her blog-site at:  http://candorealfood.com] 

 

THREE SHORT SKETCHES by James Merritt

THREE SHORT SKETCHES by James Merritt

GLITTER

On the far side of the multiverse, near the living lava balloons and the carrot water bottle world, on the far side of another galaxy on the edge of space with positive matter lies a black and white world quite like our own. The aliens are controlled by the rich. Starvation, disease, and planetary warming is killing off the people of Sparklevania. Within the city lies two separate warring species, the worshipers of GOLD, and the worshipers of PURPLE. They bombard each other with glitter day and night. Drive by glittering, ruining their otherwise black and white world.

In the center of it all lives an earthling who escaped our universe for their’s. Shawn despised glitter so much that he decided to leave the human race completely for the all-male world, but he didn’t expect to be stranded on THIS world. Everyday he awakened, ate, talked to men from both sects on his communication device and then cleaned the sparkles from his surroundings–vacuuming them up so that his black and white plants could thrive.

He lived out his life loving and being loved by many, and having even more lovers. As Shawn aged he fought more and more for peace. He designed great machines to bring more colors to the world, and by the time he died, the rainbow spectrum existed on their world. On his death bed glitter bombs were launched and everyone suffocated from the beautiful sparkles they unleashed.

After this, peace reigned for 300 years before war once again broke out.

 

THE INTRODUCTION OF LITTLE JANE SANDERS

Little Jane Sanders is a wonderful witch. She was born with grey hair, marble white skin, and freckles covered her nose. Her eyes split into threes: red, blue, and green. She needed not friends, as the ghosts, spirits and animals would speak to her. At school she would often find herself in trouble when she saved the frogs from being dissected and turned her teacher into a toad for a week to teach him a lesson. Once, she had her ghost friend Seymour possess the gelatin in the lunch room so everyone’s jello danced away from the children’s forks.

Of course being human they all denied and refused to see the magic happening all around them. The other children refused to play on the playground with Little Jane Sanders and her spider pals, who discussed with her the best ways to catch flies. On Sundays when other boys and girls would go to Sunday school, Little Jane Sanders would study her herbs and potions, learning how to heal and help those who mistreated and mistrusted her. many of them would die younger than they should have as they refused to accept her help.

Little Jane’s Guardian was Mr. Guiermo, a most grotesque funeral home director who was secretly a poltergeist with magical powers to hold a corporeal form. He would feed off the grief of the living, making them lose their grief whether they wanted to hold onto it or not.

Guiermo took Little Jane in as an infant when, after her mother’s funeral, she was deserted. Oh, actually, her family brought her to the funeral but forgot her because they wanted to hurry home to watch television. They meant to go back for her but just never did.

Little Jane’s homeroom teacher, Mrs. Bea Elgavitch, was half blind and three-quarters deaf; so when her lights flickered, her desks walked around and the boys and girls hair would stand on end, changing to blue and green. Of course when they went home their parents would never believe their audacious tales. They spanked their children, put them early and hungry to bed, after which they would call Mr. Guiermo to complain. He would feed on their grief and anger and soon they would only have their happy feelings left, forgetting why they had called in the first place.

Little Jane Sanders was a brilliant child, and I cannot wait to share with you more about her. Be wary, though, that you not mistreat or feel ill of her because he or she who mocks a witch, treats them as if they and their magics are fiction, or treats them as a lesser person for their beliefs will be accursed.

Such people have been known to find themselves without a voice to spread their poison!

 

WALKING OUT ON LIFE

His mother told him since he was young that he was unlovable. In college he sought therapy and found love for himself. Finishing college, and his dreams, he sought love in a woman’s arms. Sadly, he chose wrongly. He got a step-daughter a wife, and a shitload of debt all in the name of love.

When his step-daughter grew up she got married, took her step-father’s money and treated him like garbage…as did her mother.

Tired of heartache and pain, he sought a companion he could never love…a woman named Juliet who was one of the most ghastly humans alive with a height of 4’10”, a weight of 414 lbs, and an eyebrow that reached across her forehead and around her mouth. He remarried and lived in a cabin with her writing for the rest of his days. Neither loved each other; neither ever felt pain again.

[James Merritt is a companion, raconteur, writer and teacher who lives in Maryland. He has a vivid imagination and is a master at short, short fiction, crafting stories often highlighted with the macabre.  Merritt’s well-received work has appeared several times in our webzine.]