Have I mentioned what a Machiavellian, cunning, intelligent show The Good Wife proves itself to be, episode after episode? Wow. The new episodes have finished airing; Tuesday evenings now bring a repeat. Even so, it somehow remains riveting.
I watched my first episode of The Good Wife (CBS, 9pm CST Tuesday) several weeks ago, and I found it to be a smart legal and political drama; the gloves tend to come off, and that goes for legal maneuvers as well as underhanded politics.
NOTE: Updates to this post occur occasionally; as usual, click your browser’s refresh button to see different images (random image rotator).
I watched my first episode of The Good Wife (CBS, 9pm CST Tuesday) several weeks ago, and I found it to be a smart political and legal drama; the gloves tend to come off in this show, and that goes for legal maneuvers as well as underhanded political scheming.
Plot summary of The Good Wife: The series focuses on Alicia Florrick, whose husband Peter Florrick – a former Cook County state’s attorney – was convicted and jailed following a high-profile sex and corruption scandal. Alicia returns to her old job as a litigator after spending 13 years as a housewife in order to provide for their two teenaged children.
(9/29/2011) The third season’s first episode of The Good Wife showed consistently high quality, bringing viewers a plethora of evolving, often-combative pairings: a Muslim student accused of murdering a Jewish student, Will and Alicia, Alicia vs. Peter, Alicia vs. Cary, Kalinda and investigator Sophia; Eli and his crisis management clients; Grace warming up to her new oddball tutor (who will certainly steer Grace wrong before too long: the tutor appears to be a nut case), and probably yet more notable pairs.
Julianna Margulies reminds me of The Lost Room, a sci-fi thriller that did not make the cut despite having the goods. (I happened upon the used DVD of The Lost Room at my favorite used media seller in Nashville, McKay’s, and the first few episodes were quite riveting.)
Clips of The Good Wife, comments from actors
Incidentally, a recent episode of The Good Wife included Michael J. Fox as a guest star (in multiple episodes, Fox portrays Louis Canning: a rival attorney who has battled Alicia on various occasions) and also included a subplot involving key-logging spyware. Such key-logging spyware is a very relevant and timely subject for everyone who surfs the web on a personal computer: chances are quite good that your computer has spyware and other malware (malicious software) installed on it, and that one of those spyware apps is a key logger.
A computer program (or software, app, etc.) is considered to be malware based on the perceived intent of its programmer(s) as opposed to any specific features it might have; the term malware includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, dishonest adware, scareware, crimeware, most rootkits, and other malicious and unwanted software or programs.
I installed and ran the free version of Lavasoft’s popular Ad-Aware on my PC recently and it actually found a key logger on my system! Ad-Aware either deleted or disabled it for me. Apparently, the key logging spyware got around my AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011. I am not sure where it came from or when it was installed – or what personal information, if any, the perpetrator surreptitiously obtained from my computing activity.
How does The Good Wife rate?
The pilot episode ranked at 7.9 on IMDb (as of September 27, 2011). The Good Wife is highly rated at IMDb – 84/100 (checked Feb. 7, 2011) TV.com – rated “great” – 88 (checked Feb. 7, 2011) The Good Wife on Amazon.
The Good Wife does not push the sleaze envelope to its relatively extreme edge, as certain other shows have done (e.g., Nip/Tuck comes to mind, as does your typical MTV teen and young adult-oriented reality trash), but it is definitely a worldly show with street-smarts: Sex, power, marriage, separation, infidelity, scandal, political ambition, legal careers, proper and improper investigations, relationships with in-laws, and courtroom drama comprise but a few facets of this true TV gem.
Funny story: A genuine Nashville urban legend turns up on a The Good Wife episode!
(Added Friday, September 30, 2011)
Around 2:30am, I watched law partner Will Gardner present a fairly graphic, bloody, very memorable, mid-surgery photograph as evidence during a trial on The Good Wife. Less than five minutes later, I saw the exact same photo in my Facebook stream; a Facebook friend, H. Clark, had posted it on her Wall a few hours earlier, referring to it as “Pic of the Century” (due to the apparently incredible circumstances surrounding the actual birth of this real-life baby). Additional details indicated that this medical photograph actually originated at a major hospital (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) which happens to be located less than ten miles from my home. ULTRA-WEIRD!! [ Read more: The facts surrounding this story ]
Updates to this post
September 27, 2011
November 15, 2011
White Lightning, White Knight, and Zoom: Legal stimulants for how long?
Jan 2013 UPDATE: The chemicals used to make bath salts are now illegal. The latest indications are that the kinds of drugs collectively known as bath salts — essentially a ramped-up synthetic cocaine or meth substitute — can cause serious problems and is by most accounts not just worth it.
In any case, experimenting even minimally or conservatively with the synthetic drugs typically called bath salts seems like a really bad idea. IMHO, those who enjoy occasional recreational drug use and are willing to take the associated risks ought to simply limit themselves to enjoy natural (or naturally derived) substances with a long history and/or entheogenic potential… like marijuana (THC), opiates, peyote (mescaline), mushrooms (psilocybin), or cocaine.
NOTE (Mar 2012):This 2011 post is WAY OUTDATED. Surfers can surely find a better resource. So-called bath salts have been uncovered and made illegal across the U.S.
NOTE: I have made an effort to provide accurate facts about these stimulant drugs or synthetic approximations of methamphetamine; however, the sources used contained some conflicting information. At the time of this writing (Feb. 2011), this post included more details than any other online report I could locate, which could account for why this post quickly became the most popular article on this site (and that’s why I later removed this post). This is a summary of multiple news reports and other online resources; this article may be updated from time to time. [updates to this post]
Bath salt drugs in Panama City (YouTube)
This article is provided for informational purposes only; please do not experiment with these new synthetic drugs. If you are under the age of 18, you are forbidden to read the remainder of this post. Although we…
are drug war abolitionists; we vehemently oppose the so-called War on Drugs (a warped, insane policy which has clearly caused great harm to the United States and its citizens),
encourage decriminalization concerning possession and use of entheogens and natural drugs,
…the truth is that meth/methamphetamine and its synthetic approximations are not included among the substances anyone should be using recreationally (or otherwise).
Meth and its equivalents are not to be trifled with because putting these chemicals into the body produces ungodly spikes of the neurotransmitter dopamine, bringing about psychological and even physical addiction far more rapidly than with other substances. In fact, the dopamine surges are so drastically high that, before long, the brain’s dopamine receptors are simply destroyed – in turn making it difficult for the meth user to feel simple, natural pleasure (possibly for a very long time). Unfortunately, the destroyed receptors do not heal or recover; however, the amazingly resilient human brain is able to use still-existing receptors as well as find some new pathways to accomplish some of what was lost, but probably never to return to pre-meth functioning of the central nervous system.
Dopamine performs a chemical messenger function in a manner similar to adrenaline (a.k.a. epinephrine), affecting brain processes that control our physical movement, our emotional response, and our ability to experience high and lows, pleasure and pain.
Methamphetamine usage destroys the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of users and causes great harm to society at large. Have you ever seen before and after photos of real meth addicts? It’s truly heartbreaking.
For the meth user, the trouble – the perceived trouble, at least – begins when the euphoric effect of the meth begins to wear off; this can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that are significantly more intense and longer-lasting than the withdrawal from popular, frequently prescribed pharmaceutical amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin, etc.) or cocaine.
Bath salts banned in Florida (YouTube)
For at least several months now, a pair of new stimulants has been making the rounds in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, Missouri, Washington, and most likely all across the United States. The effects of these synthetic stim drugs are frequently compared to cocaine and meth. They usually come in the form of a whitish crystals or powder. The drugs have many names, including White Lightning, White Knight, White Rush, Zoom, MDPK, Magic, Super Coke, PV, and probably a few dozen other names used regionally.
A Google search at 1:20am CST on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 revealed news reports on this subject popping up all over the U.S., and most of these reports are very fresh. Many news stories about these drugs broke only last month. This is quite a serious issue; it appears these new synthetic drugs are exploding onto the scene everywhere.
Video: New class of amphetamine-like drugs
Most of these "new" stimulants are actually one of two drugs: MDPV or mephedrone.
Sellers of these compounds have developed workable cover stories, disguises, and misrepresentations to avoid stating outright that these products are used as mood-altering drugs, and that what they are selling is in fact dope. These alternate-use charades include incense, insect repellent, plant food, and – probably the most common – concentrated bath salts.
MDPV:White Knight (the name more common in Tennessee?) or Zoom is actually methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, and is sold as a bath salt in small quarter-gram or half-gram bags, reportedly for around $25. MDPV appears to be the stronger of the two substances, and therefore potentially more dangerous. Mephedrone:White Lightning is mephedrone and is sometimes sold or labeled as an insect repellent; reports say it is sold for around $45 per quarter-gram or half-gram bags.
MDPV acts as a stimulant and has been reported to have amphetamine-like or cocaine-type effects. Reports vary, however; an Atlanta drug user said it was the hardest drug he’d ever tried. Some drug users say MDPV not only packs a stronger stimulant punch than cocaine but also includes the psychotropic, hallucinogenic effects of LSD [what a history], psilocybin-containing magic mushrooms or shrooms (Genus: Psilocybe), peyote [Tracks of the Little Deer], mescaline, and other popular hallucinogens and/or entheogens. (Entheogenics – the religious use of hallucinogens, is a fascinating side topic that warrants a separate post; perhaps later, if time allows.)
The acute effects of these relatively new, synthetic, stimulant drugs may include:
Mental & psychological effects: Euphoria, increases in alertness and awareness, increased wakefulness, sexual arousal, anxiety, agitation, perception of a reduced need for food and sleep
According to Wikipedia:
Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV or Zoom) is a psychoactive drug with stimulant properties which acts as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). Reportedly, it has been sold since around 2004 as a research chemical. It is also known as MDPK, Magic, Super Coke, and PV. In 2010, it was reportedly sold as a legal drug alternative and marketed in the United States as "bath salts" (under such names as Cloud 9, Ivory Wave, Ocean, Charge Plus, White Lightning, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, TranQuility, Red Dove, and White Dove).
Bath salt high: News report from Philadelphia (YouTube)
The stimulant effects of MDPV last roughly 3 to 4 hours, with the come-down effects lasting 6 to 8 hours. The after-effects include higher-than-normal heart rate and blood pressure, as well as mild stimulation. High doses have been observed to cause intense, prolonged panic attacks in stimulant-intolerant users, and there are anecdotal reports of psychosis from sleep withdrawal and also of dependence or addiction following periods of more frequent dosing intervals of increasing amounts. In other words, the side effects are basically what one would or should expect from a stimulant.
Unintended effects: Deaths, ER visits, violence
MDPV is apparently the stronger and more dangerous of the two drugs; unwanted symptoms or side effects reportedly include confusion, agitation, delirium, and paranoia.
At least 19 people have been treated in emergency rooms in Kentucky since September 2010 (through Feb. 2011).
Mephedrone has also been blamed for several deaths in Great Britain. In some cases, users have reportedly become suicidal.
One video news report referenced here (see video portion of Resources section) told of a user high on the bath salt drug who chased her mother with a machete. There’s an increasing frequency of stories about suicide attempts, close calls, and suicidal thoughts, etc. while on these synthetic drugs.
Since the late summer of 2010, poison centers in many states have increased their awareness of and preparedness regarding these two drugs.
According to some drug treatment experts, the effects experienced after using these synthetic stimulants can be even harder to treat and may be even worse than crystal meth (methamphetamine) itself. [I doubt that very much…] They are also difficult to trace; the packages vary widely and may have slightly differing chemical compounds.
Availability, cost, packaging
These new stimulants are not cheap. Most packages reportedly cost between $25 and $50 for a half-gram; in Atlanta the reported price was $100 a gram.
Reports indicate these products are being sold at convenience stores in some states, and only at smoke shops or head shops in other states. This probably depends on existing state laws, which vary when it comes to the sale of paraphernalia and related products.
This writer is assuming, based on various reports, that here in Tennessee these new drugs are being sold only in certain shops: the stores that also carry assortments of pipes, water pipes or bongs, measuring scales, and other gray area, drug-related merchandise (in other words, head shops).
In Tennessee, these two substances are often packaged quite similarly; some display a lightning bolt on the wrapper.
Some stores that sell MDPV and mephedrone may not even be fully aware of exactly what they are selling. These stimulants are apparently widely available on the Internet. It appears MDPV and mephedrone were initially invented and manufactured in Europe.
Medical uses, comparison to popular Rx stimulants
Apparently, neither MDPV nor mephedrone have any history of FDA-approved medical uses. According to at least one source, MDPV has four times the potency of methylphenidate (one of the most popular prescription drugs), widely marketed and prescribed as Ritalin and Concerta.
More on methylphenidate
Methylphenidate has high potential for abuse and addiction due to its pharmacological similarity to cocaine and amphetamines. Methylphenidate, like other stimulants, increases dopamine levels in the brain, but at therapeutic doses this increase is slow, and thus euphoria does not typically occur except in rare instances. The abuse potential is increased when methylphenidate is crushed and insufflated (snorted), or when it is injected, producing effects almost identical to cocaine.
On January 6, 2011, the Governor of Louisiana banned it via emergency order.
According to the WSMV report, these drugs have already been banned in Kentucky; however, a December 2010 report referenced below (see Resources) clearly reports sales in Louisville, Kentucky.
Tennessee banned some similar substances which had been legal for a time (K2, Salvia), but these latest chemicals are different and therefore still legal – but surely not for very long. I have absolutely no doubt that White Lightning, White Knight – and any other product found to contain MDPV or mephedrone – will soon be outlawed in Tennessee.
Several months ago, a WSMV investigative team in Nashville reported on K2 (a.k.a. K3), a substance intended to mimic pot. According to police, the law enforcement community was not even aware of it – at least, not “formally” – until the Channel 4 news team told them about it. K2/3 was banned shortly after Tennessee lawmakers learned of it.
White Lightning (mephedrone) and Zoom (MDPV) are already scheduled drugs in the U.K. and they are finally starting to be seen as a problem in the United States, such as in Tennessee and Kentucky. The local news has only just begun to report White Lightning, and that means the popularity of it is probably about to explode.
Neither MDPV nor mephedrone show up in currently available drug screenings, but it’s not because they are undetectable; so far, these drugs remain ahead of the legal system, so drug tests presently on the market have not been modified to detect them.
Another video starring these synthetic drugs
In the U.K., MDPV is a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess without a license. Penalties include a maximum of five years and/or unlimited fine for possession; up to 14 years and/or unlimited fine for production or trafficking.
At some point in the future, I might attempt to address the amazing subject of entheogenics in such a way as to be understandable – and perhaps even meaningful – to the layman; however, that’s no easy task. Here are a few introductory links on the subject. You’ve probably heard the term “mind expansion” used in various discussions at some point in your past.
This is yet another example of the reason this blog is called Another day, another digression… looks like I’ve gotten way off topic once again!
Isn’t mind expansion just the wishful fancy of a hippie drug user?
The answers to these kinds of questions clearly separate those who are experienced from those who aren’t (which include the naysayers), as Jimi Hendrix might have put it (Are You Experienced?)… not necessarily stoned, but beautiful. Jim Morrison described the experience as to break on through to the other side. Time to end this controversial subject for now!
The Doors of Perception, by Aldous Huxley – Excerpt from The Doors of Perception: Istigkeit–wasn’t that the word Meister Eckhart liked to use? “Is-ness.” The Being of Platonic philosophy– except that Plate seems to have made the enormous, the grotesque mistake of separating Being from becoming and identifying it with the mathematical abstraction of the Idea. He could never, poor fellow, have seen a bunch of flowers shining with their own inner light and all but quivering under the pressure of the significance with which they were charged; could never have perceived that what rose and iris and carnation so intensely signified was nothing more, and nothing less, than what they were–a transience that was yet eternal life, a perpetual perishing that was at the same time pure Being, a bundle of minute, unique particulars in which, by some unspeakable and yet self-evident paradox, was to be seen the divine source of all existence.
What if there were a drug that caused happiness and bliss?
If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution – then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise. (Source: Aldous Huxley quote at mescaline.com)
Updates to this post
Saturday, February 5, 2011: This post was originally written and published. Thursday, October 13, 2011: Added info about the negative effects of meth on the human body, added an introduction to the subject of entheogenics
Saturday, February 05, 2011
This post (New, legal drugs available in Nashville, TN) was taken down in the spring of 2011, but was re-posted on Labor Day 2011 as a test (perhaps temporarily; we shall see). This post was removed because it had become the most popular post on this blog, and I did not want this subject matter to receive the most attention on my personal blog (Another day, another digression)…
it seems one would have to be sub-mental with extremely poor judgement to