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Words, July 17



The latest issue of the Drug Policy News, published by the Drug Policy Education Group in Fayetteville, is full of information, about words as well as drug policy.

“MULTITASKING: You may think that what you are doing is multitasking, but really your brain can only make one decision at a time. A good multi-tasker is really just switching back and forth, according to a study carried out at the British Institute of Psychiatry. Researchers found that excessive use of technology [emphasis mine] reduced workers' intelligence and that those distracted by incoming e-mail and phone calls saw a ten-point fall in their IQ, over twice the impact of smoking or marijuana use.” I'd suspected as much, but I lacked proof until now.

A column labeled “Things you didn't know about pot” told me something I didn't know about Mezz Mezzrow, although I read his autobiography, “Really the Blues,” many years ago, and recall that it was considered fairly shocking at the time. I don't remember his name being used as an adjective, but so the columnist says:

“A white Chicago jazz musician named Milton ‘Mezz' Mezzrow moved to Harlem in 1929, declared himself a ‘voluntary Negro,' and began selling marijuana. Known as ‘The Man Who Hipped the World' and ‘The Link Between the Races,' Mezzrow sold fat joints called mezzrolls. Soon a new piece of Harlem slang emerged: Something genuine was described as ‘mezz.' ”

Wikipedia has a slightly different version. “[Mezzrow] was so well-known in the jazz community for selling marijuana that ‘Mezz' became slang for marijuana. He was also known as the ‘Muggles King,' the word ‘muggles' (also the title of a famous 1928 Louis Armstrong recording), being slang for marijuana at that time.”

And finally, the DPN gets into building materials:

“On May 12, 2008, about 20 people headed for Manderson SD to engage in a hempcrete building project … Hempcrete is, loosely described, the blending of hemp with a mortar to produce a light, flexible, insulative and strong  building material.” A hempcrete house could stand up to the Big Bad Wolf, I imagine. Maybe not the DEA.


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