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Nerfing the World 

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If you subscribe to the notion that Eureka is too gosh darn dangerous these days, you may now don your helmet, elbow pads and SPF 55 sunscreen and rejoice. The city of Eureka is here to ensure that you do not walk too quickly, nor too slowly, while crossing the street.

Crossing the street, after all, is hazardous.

That's why 125,000 of your tax dollars have been spent lovingly installing idiot-proof countdown timers at every signaled intersection in the city. The old crosswalk signals, apparently, weren't made obvious enough by the illumination of a solid red hand displaying the universal message for "STOP WALKING RIGHT NOW OR YOU'LL PROBABLY GET TOE TAGGED, BUD."

I don't know about you, but until they've installed one of these new-fangled shot clocks at every last intersection — signaled or otherwise — I'm not going to risk my life crossing the street at any locale where the Nanny State has yet to inform pedestrians of the exact length of time they have to safely traverse a public space.

Gee, isn't it swell that nice people have so thoroughly Nerfed the world that we no longer are allowed to smoke in a bar or eat trans-fat? I don't know about you, but I won't feel truly safe leaving the trailer park until they've outlawed bicycles from riding on our sidewalks.

Hopefully they're working on that!

The 119-Percenters

Did Rush Limbaugh move to town or something?

You would be forgiven, dear reader, if this was your reaction to figures published in a recent study of prescription opioid use in Humboldt County, which found that for every 100 county residents there are 119 active prescriptions for narcotic painkiller, or "PKs" as they're known on the mean streets of the West Side.

Although my Google machine assures me El Rushbo remains safely ensconced in the Sunshine State far from our drizzly shores, someone around here has been doing some serious doctor shopping. How else do you account for Humboldt County's gobbling up feel-good pills at twice the statewide average, which clocks in at a still-troubling 61 percent?

Even that figure feels a little mind-blowing if, like me, you wouldn't know a tablet of Oxycontin from a simple aspirin — much less the various and sundry lengths opiate addicts go to slake their joneses for the High Life.

Many prescription narcotic junkies, for instance, don't even bother to swallow the pills — preferring instead to crush an opioid tablet between two spoons in order to inject or snort the pulverized remains.

If you're wondering how a narco-Pollyanna such as myself would be privy to the drug delivery methods of a down-and-out pill hustler, the answer is that I watch the California government's version of C-SPAN.

Public Rx Education

That was some downright startling "how-to" advice about prescription narcotics that I recently obtained from the public airwaves. Last week, Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) — a former dentist and charter member of the Tall, Aristocratic, Well-Coiffed Public Servant's Club — held a televised presser (available on YouTube) in support of his Assembly Bill 623, aimed at combatting opioid abuse.

But in offering step-by-step instructions on the precise mechanics of pill abuse, did Wood's demo veer into junkie how-to territory? (Judge for yourself: The press conference is linked on the @BuhneTribune Twitter feed).

As cameras rolled, Wood demonstrated — with what can only be described as outlandish accuracy — exactly how one goes about properly crushing an Oxy pill to better foster the drug's unconventional administration. "You can make it into a powder," Wood declared, deftly churning pills into an unsettling fluffy white powder using both the mortar-and-pestle and double-spoon methods.

Next, while ostensibly advocating precisely the opposite message, the learned assemblyman held aloft a spoonful of pulverized Oxy and, with irony only a shade less thick than Southern molasses, said: "Right now I could — you could — go ahead and inhale this nasally... and get an immediate high from that."

Indeed, sir? Mark that one down as "things that make you go hmm."

If Wood was angling to score a spot on The Daily Show's 'Moment of Zen,' I'm gonna go ahead and award that one a gold star. On the other hand, if Wood was conveying a subliminal fist bump to Humboldt's 119-percent-strong pill community, major props.

Either way, if adopted A.B. 623 will widen medical industry access to safer, crush-proof pills in an effort to cut down abuse.

Hopefully the bill becomes law before Wood's inadvertent how-to vid goes viral.

For a Limited Time Only?

Not to cause a run on Little Four sports merchandise or anything, but from the way things are looking in Sacramento, the days of cool-sounding but politically incorrect sports mascots are numbered.

As of this writing, four California schools are still holding onto the "Redskin" mascot — now finding themselves in the legislative cross-hairs following a national campaign to re-name the U.S. capital's resident pro football team.

But if a measure recently introduced in Sacramento succeeds, not only will those schools be shorn of their mascots, but even school merchandise bearing the insensitive logo would be verboten. (The legislation, Assembly Bill 30, says that sweatshirts and other memorabilia purchased before the ban would be "grandfathered" in.)

Nevertheless, this latest mascot-ridding gambit comes on the heels of a failed, but broader 2002 Sacramento effort to ban public schools' adoption of such supposedly offensive mascots as Comanches, braves and chiefs.

With our own Little Four high schools happily parading themselves around as Crusaders (St. Bernard's) and Warriors (Hoopa), can the Mascot Wars' local front be far behind?

—– Ryan Hurley

Know where the bodies are buried? Email Ryan: tribune9000@gmail.com.

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