Reading Between the Lines – Creatively

Jay, Bill, and I were at the Roasting Company – a pleasant first of July day. We had agreed to each review some stories in the local and national papers.


“You go first,” I said to Bill.

“My big news is, of course, the Dalai Lama in Salt Lake City.”

“You’ve known him for some time, haven’t you?”

“For some 20 years. He talked at the Huntsman Center on campus. You could have heard a pin drop,” Bill said, smiling. “He promoted positivity, among other things.”

“And he’s threatening to not appoint a successor?” Jay asked.

“Yes and no,” Bill answered. “He’s dealing with the crazy Chinese government, who insist on ‘approving’ any new Dalai Lama. He also said some interesting things about reincarnation – or not.”


“You go next, Jay,” I said.

“I’ll do the Mike Lee – Donald Trump games.”

“You mean ‘loathsome Lee’, according to his new demo opponent, Misty Snow?” Bill asked.

“Loathsome isn’t a new descriptor for Mike,” Jay countered. “Mike and wife Sharon are on the GOP Rules Committee and are going to the convention.”

“So?” I asked.

“So, he’s said he sees no need to change the rules – he’ll be a good boy even though Trump insulted his ‘best friend’ Cruz.”

“So?” Bill asked. “Why so good?”

“Hey, read between the lines,” Jay smiled. “Trump’s a bit too liberal for the base – for the Cruz, Lee tea party – Freedom Caucus crowd, right?”

“Right!” Bill said. “So Lee could be VP – and bring all the hard right ideologues with him.”

“Bingo,” Jay said.

“Did you see the piece about Romney saying his family is encouraging him to run?”

“Oh, yes. A sacrificial Independent run, so Trump-averse Utah Republicans don’t have to vote for Hillary.”

“Another Rubio. I say 10,000 times I won’t run. ..Oops, maybe I better – for the good of the state, the country, the party.”

“They’re all hypocrites. Or is it the revelation syndrome? Anyway, your turn,” Jay said, looking at me.


“I’ll do local. The U carbon divestment campaign.”

“Yea – the President said no divestment, so they can get continuing support from … the fossil fuel industry,” Bill read from the Salt Lake Tribune.

“At least they’re honest about their motives,” Jay added. “Nothing about leadership, education, morals, values.”

“Bingo,” I said. “But he did say climate change is one of the most pressing and difficult issues of our time.”

“And implied that his leaderless U can’t do anything about it?” Bill said.

“Where have all the cojones gone?” Jay smiled.

“They’re not in the U Administration,” I said. “They squandered a unique opportunity – the Faculty Senate handed them two very reasonable, serious, well researched recommendations – which they largely ignored. What a cop out.”

“Welcome to Utah,” Jay smiled.


Why the Increase in MDMA ‘Problems’?

I was on the phone with Lucien and Peter, who were at a coffee shop in Portland.

“My Google Alert on ‘Ecstasy’ shows more issues, problems with street Ecstasy,” Peter reported.

“Yes, I’ve also seen some reports on more ER admissions and even deaths,” Lucien added.

“I’ve seen them, too,” I said.

“The Chinese?” Peter asked.

“Have you been listening to Trump? The Chinese aren’t responsible for everything, but they are connected.”

“So you’ve dome some homework?” Lucien asked.

“Yes. I came across a UK psychopharmacologist, a Valerie Curran with University College, London. She was on the BBC recently warning users about high dose Ecstasy.”

“And?” Peter asked.

“Patience!” I said. “She was almost immediately criticized, even vilified, by the drug control crowd for advising users to cut current pills in half, because street pills in UK and rest of Europe may now have 200 mg or more of pure MDMA.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Peter said. “Why would dealers use excess drug?”

“Good question. Apparently there’s a new precursor readily available – from China, of course – that makes it easier and cheaper to produce MDMA. So there’s now sort of a competition to produce, provide more potent pills.”


“It may be a macho thing – kind of a pissing contest between producers or dealers?” Lucien asked.

“That’s been suggested. But there’s probably another – a better – reason.”

“Go on,” Peter said.

“In some European countries the possession of a pill or two is often ignored. So if you’re a small scale user – or dealer – you can have just a few pills on you which can supply many normal doses – you just break up the pill.”

“But if you don’t know – or you’re already partly stoned?…”

“Right – if you take the full pill, which can be 200 or even 300 or more mg, then you have a serious overdose.”

“Especially if you’re a woman, small, or have a bad liver.”

“Yep. This has all hit the media,” I continued, “because the 2016 Global Drug Survey was just released – I’ll send you the link, but here’s a short summary:

2016 is the worst time to be using MDMA in a generation: Increase in use of both MDMA and cocaine over the last 3 years. Concerns over high dose MDMA pills leading to increased risk of acute harm. 4-fold increase in British female clubbers seeking emergency medical treatment in last 3 years. Women 2-3 times more likely to seek emergency treatment than men. UK users take more MDMA in a night than anyone else (almost half a gram). Most people use less than 10 times per year. Less is more (more fun with less MDMA).”

“Has the recommended or optimum dose changed?” Peter asked.

“Not really,” I answered, “although Adam Winstock, who does the Global Drug Survey, has suggested that 80 mg may be the optimum dose for ‘the pleasurable effects of energy, euphoria and empathy.’ So Ananda’s 100 mg is still appropriate for our ex-patients.”

“If only we’d known about the Chinese precursor – the new synthesis approach – Tom could have made much more. There are so many needy patients,” Lucien said.

“We each still have a small personal stock,” I said. “Dispense it wisely.”

We then changed the subject – and discussed our collective plans for the family 2016 Oregon coast reunion.


Has Hatch Lost It?

We sat down at Coffee Noir, outside, enjoying the spring sun.

“It’s been a while,” Bill said. “About three weeks, I think.”

“I’ve been rereading our patient write-ups, especially Chapters 7 to 10,” Jay said.  “Although we’ve had all the president-wannabees dropout, except for Trump, the other 25 perspectives are fairly current.”

“And you really nailed Hatch,” Bill said, looking at me.

“What do you mean?”

“About losing it,” Bill answered. “He’s obviously completely lost it. It’s no longer just his ignorance and arrogance – his neurons must be short circuiting.”

“Details, please,” Jay said, impatiently.

“You both saw it. Hatch is now in bed with Trump, expecting to change Trump a bit by whispering in his ear.”

“Good luck,” I said. “Trump is not a listener; I doubt he pays any attention to whispers in his ear.”

“All the more reason Hatch has clearly lost it.”

“Maybe there’s a reason,” Jay said. “Hatch always wanted to be nominated for the Supreme Court. Wouldn’t he be the ideal new Scalia?”

“Our discussion of Scalia losing it may have been prophetic. From one scrambled brain to another.”

“God! Hatch would be worse than Gowdy – or even Mike Lee,” Bill said.

“It just keeps getting worse and worse,” I said.

“Dumb and dumber,” Bill concluded.


Did Koch eat Ananda’s Chocolates?

“Did you see today’s NY Times piece by Barbaro – on Charles and Hillary?” Bill asked.

“Not yet, I thought Charles was fond of Sanders,” I answered.

“He’s certainly anti-Trump, and probably not pro-Cruz,” Jay said.

“The Brothers must be very disappointed, even despondent.”

“Yea, so much money spent refocusing the GOP – mainly to result in a stable of loser candidates for President.”

“The Times story, very briefly, suggested Koch was willing to at least consider Hillary,” Bill said.

“Maybe you did get to him,” Jay said, smiling and looking at me.

“The chocolates went to his Wichita receptionist – she said she’d give them to him.”

“Well, she apparently did,” Jay said. “He does seem to be more open than before.”

“Yes, his Sanders comment and now this Hillary one.”

“Another dose could have an even greater effect,” Bill said, ” – that and his growing awareness of impending mortality.”

“Aging does cause some of us to be more philosophical – and open-minded,” I said. “And Charles is five years ahead of me. It’s easy to get to Wichita. I’ll make another visit.”


Scalia Supreme Court Michael Lee Hayek Simplism

“Did you see the local papers in the last two days?” Jay asked.

“There’s a move on to get Trump to commit to appointing Mike Lee as Scalia’s Supreme Court replacement.”

“Crazy,” Bill said. “He’d be even worse than Scalia. It’s because Cruz did commit to appoint Lee. Cruz and Lee have been shouting Libertarianism fallacies into each other’s ears since they both ran for Senate.”

“We said it earlier,” I said. “They’re afflicted with – and addicted to – their mental adolescence. They are infected with seductive Hayekian simplicity – what the psychologists might call simplism.”

“Maybe we should get more chocolate to them,” Jay said, smiling.

“In their case, change would require a brain transplant,” Bill said.

“Or a more powerful chemical change agent,” I suggested.