As we get ready for the second weekend in a fading summer's August, here are some of the best things I've come across in the past few weeks:
Dr. Kush: How medical marijuana is transforming the pot industry
by David Samuels
This is a fascinating look into the quasi-legal world of medicinal marijuana cultivation and dispensation in the Golden State. You'll learn more about growing bud than you ever imagined possible, and some of the pastoral images of new age Humboldt County hippies living off the land and making six figures are enough to make you reconsider this life in the legal fast lane. The author's gonzo tendencies make for some interesting reading, and his down-to-earth relatability lends to a style that you can't help but love. Also, this particular article contained a sentance that, in a million years, I didn't think I'd ever come across in the pages of The New Yorker:
"It was easy to see why the dispensary was so popular with young men: there was good pot, and Cindy 99, who is in her thirties, looks like an adolescent boy's fantasy of his best friend's hot older sister."
Serving the Goddess: The dangerous life of a sacred sex worker
by William Dalrymple
My girlfriend confirmed this week that she will be going to India in October for two months. Let's just hope it's not for the purposes of dedicating herself to the Goddess Yellamma.
I'll be the first to say that organized religion really isn't my bag, but that's not to say that I don't do my part when it comes time to respect the religions of others. I have no problem throwing a fin into the collection tray when I get dragged to church once a year, and I'll even sacrifice the odd chicken when it comes time to practice Santeria. But sleeping with 8 dudes each day just to appease the Holy one? Yikes.
The Eureka Hunt: Why do good ideas come to us when they do
by Jonah Lehrer
If for no other reason than the fact that it might one day save your life, read the first six paragraphs of this piece. It really is amazing when an idea comes to us: amazing in the fact that we unequivocally know that idea to be absolutely right the moment it strikes us, and even more amazing in the fact that we hadn't thought of it before.
There are some other interesting tidbits regarding left brain vs. right brain thinking, and the notion that we are better able to come up with great ideas when the mind is either relaxed, or in a wandering state:
Henri Poincare, the nineteenth-century mathematician, insisted that the best way to think about complex problems is to immerse yourself in the problem until you hit an impasse. Then, when it seems that "nothing good is accomplished," you should find a way to distract yourself, preferably by going on a "walk or a journey". The answer will arrive when you least expect it. Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, preferred the relaxed atmosphere of a topless bar, where he would sip 7-UP, "watch the entertainment", and, if inspiration struck, scribble equations on cocktail napkins.
I'm almost afraid to post a link to the site which contains the stories of Tucker Max because I feel like I'll be losing most of my readers if I do so. I'll lose the first half because they'll be so offended that I'd ever link to such exploitative and offensive filth, and I'll lose the second because they'll be so thoroughly entertained by what they're reading that they'll never come back to this lowly webspace.
I have to say, some of what I read from Tucker Max was borderline-offensive to me, and that's really saying something. But the fact is, I literally laughed out loud in front of my computer countless times, and any writer who can accomplish that feat is a writer that I'll read for eternity.
I have no idea whether his stories are true or not. I suspect that most are part fact, part embellishment, and part old fashioned fabrication (particularly the part in The Absinthe Donuts Story [hysterically offensive, by the way] where he claims to drive some girl's car through the window of a donut shop); but as the late, great Hunter S. Thompson used to say: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story". And good stories these are indeed.
For what you can expect content-wise, you need look no further than the introductory words on TMax's own site:
My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.
I get excessively drunk at inappropriate times, disregard social norms, indulge every whim, ignore the consequences of my actions, mock idiots and posers, sleep with more women than is safe or reasonable, and just generally act like a raging dickhead.
But, I do contribute to humanity in one very important way. I share my adventures with the world. They are known as: The Tucker Max Stories
I came to the Tucker Max Stories by way of longtime West Coast reader J.P., who simply wrote the following:
Any epic soirees of besotted debauchery that you have either experienced or listened to have been savagely trumped most soundly.
Enjoy. But don't say that you haven't been warned.