The $65 cocktail hour.

Hey, guys. We arrived late last night, and after all the decompressing and unpacking and mail-sorting, I had no time to update. Then, today, I start a brutal week with two projects circling for a landing.

So you’ll have to wait for the Toronto download. We had a nice time. I will never drive there again, although I will probably take a rolling suitcase.

In the meantime, just one bit of bloggage: This piece on the Indiana RFRA situation, written by an IU law professor who’s a friend-of-a-friend. If it doesn’t go viral, there’s no justice in the world; he does an excellent job nailing the specifics down, in simple, easy-to-understand terms.

I leave you with this perfect moment: Cocktail hour at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel, where we killed the last hour before the train left. I’ve been pinching pennies all my life, and am not one for many indulgences, although I’d love to just once own a really, really high-quality black cashmere sweater. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? Anyway, we thought we’d have a drink, and the drinks were so good we had two. The waiter anticipated everything, bringing water without being asked, the wifi password, a little dish of salty snacks (that’s Alan bogarting all the wasabi peas) and, of course, two absolutely perfect cocktails — a Manhattan for the gentleman and this lovely concoction of vodka, champagne and raspberry deliciousness called a Bubbles & Berries. The bill? A mere $65. I think it was worth every penny:


Talk tomorrow, then?

Posted at 8:57 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

59 responses to “The $65 cocktail hour.”

  1. Danny said on March 30, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Nice, yeah, we don’t do the ritzy places often, but there is a difference in the attentiveness of the wait staff. That drink reminds me of one that Robin got a few years back at the Stein Eriksen mid-mountain lodge at Deer Valley. Muddled fruit is da bomb.

    I already told a few people this, but Robin and I ran into Mitt & Ann Romney on our Torrey Pines beach walk last night. Robin saw then first and said, “Hey, they look familiar.” I looked up and identified them. We didn’t intrude because it looked like they were having a nice family time, so we just waved and I told him we had voted for them and they thanked us and we were on our respective ways.

    Someone suggested that a selfie for NNC would have been awesome, but as a rule, I don’t do that with famous folk. Plus, they are a handsome couple and Robin always looks great. I would have been the homeless fellow photobombing into the mix.

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  2. LAMary said on March 30, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I know someone who has a Mitt Romney chia pet.

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  3. Dorothy said on March 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Voted for ‘them’? What was Ann running for?

    Sorry – I know when someone is elected to be President that the spouse comes along for the ride. However I don’t think his/her name is on the ballot. I just needed to be snarky about that this morning. No offense intended, Danny.

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  4. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Mitt seems to show up in selfies a lot. He travels often, so people see him in airports and such. He’s going to be in a charity boxing match some time soon. He’s raising money for a charity that fights blindness, mainly in developing countries. Was on Jimmy Fallon last week to talk about the boxing match and said that 80% of the blindness in the world could be overcome with the right treatment, something I had never heard before.

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  5. Danny said on March 30, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Well he does have great hair, Mary! I could see that.

    Too funny, Dorothy No offense taken. Ever. You are a bright spot here and a genuinely nice person. I still chuckle about when you offered to call that realtor who was clogging up the fast lane during my commute a few years back while on her cell phone.

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  6. Deborah said on March 30, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I hope that IU professor’s explanation goes viral, it’s a good one.

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  7. alex said on March 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Possibly the IU law web site is getting an overload of curiosity this morning as it’s not working at the moment. I read the piece last night and it’s worth your time when it comes back up.

    Ann Romney looked even more devastated than did Mitt when they finally had to acknowledge on election night what had been a foregone conclusion for months everywhere but inside the right-wing media bubble. And Mitt’s still being a poor sport about it.

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  8. Bob (not Greene) said on March 30, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I also liked Neil Steinberg’s take on the RFRA deal in Indiana:

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on March 30, 2015 at 10:27 am

    alex @7: According to some things I’ve read, Ann wanted to be First Lady even more than Mitt wanted to be President. And that’s saying something.

    Can you imagine how the Republicans would have howled if Al Gore had flitted all around the country in 2001 running his mouth about how Dubya was doing everything wrong?

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  10. Judybusy said on March 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I love a fancy cocktail place every once in a while. In Minneapolis, the best is the Lounge at La Belle Vie: The small plates come out of the their amazing kitchen and it’s just a beautiful setting. We treated our niece and her boyfriend there last summer–both small town young people, but they loved it. My partner and I have eaten dinner at this restaurant once–it’s about a $300 meal. But her nursing school was damn hard and we wanted to celebrate!

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  11. adrianne said on March 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Toronto, back off, I thought NYC had the lockdown on $65 cocktail hours! Hope you had a nice time partying in Our Sleeping Giant To The North. This morning we woke up to…snow. Dammit.

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  12. Joe K said on March 30, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Just got thru on the iu law sight, excellent piece. I watched the Gov on tv Sunday morning, as my one daughter described it, Gov Pence here is a shovel would you like to dig yourself in any deeper?
    Just a bad situation made worse.
    Pilot Joe

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  13. Danny said on March 30, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Ugh. I really hate this week. I have to do my two least favorite things. 1. Slog through about 14 performance appraisals with staff and 2. Complete budget planning for all of the development programs under my control.

    I asked a peer of mine a few weeks back how they go about doing budgets for major programs. The response was that it usually involves a lot of dead chickens and chanting. Sounds about right.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on March 30, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Agreed on Gov. Pence’s horrible performance on the talk show. He was beyond terrible. Whoever on his staff suggested he make that appearance on ABC may be looking for a job today. It was that bad.

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  15. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 10:55 am

    The Daily Show has chosen Jon Stewart’s replacement, a guy from South Africa named Trevor Noah. Sounds smart and funny. See the video at the link above for a taste of what he’s like.

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  16. nancy said on March 30, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I’ve read this story about heroin addiction in Appalachia a million times, and it never gets easier. It also revives my fury at the pharmaceutical companies who lit the fuse to this bomb, and wondering when a smart attorney general will go all tobacco-industry on ’em:

    In Cincinnati, an entry point for heroin heading to Kentucky, the street dealers beckoning from corners call it “dog” or “pup” or “dog food.” Sometimes they advertise their product by barking at you. Ohio recorded 680 heroin overdose deaths in 2012, up 60 percent over the previous year, with one public health advocate telling a local newspaper that Cincinnati and its suburbs suffered a fatal overdose every other day. Just over the Ohio River the picture is just as bleak. Between 2011 and 2012, heroin deaths increased by 550 percent in Kentucky and have continued to climb steadily. This past December alone, five emergency rooms in Northern Kentucky saved 123 heroin-overdose patients; those ERs saw at least 745 such cases in 2014, 200 more than the previous year.

    For addicts, cravings override all normal rules of behavior. In interviews throughout Northern Kentucky, addicts and their families described the insanity that takes hold. Some addicts shared stories of shooting up behind the wheel while driving down Interstate 75 out of Cincinnati, or pulling over at an early exit, a Kroger parking lot. A mother lamented her stolen heirloom jewelry and the dismantling of the family cabin piece by piece until every inch had been sold off. Addicts stripped so many houses, barns, and churches of copper and fixtures in one Kentucky county that the sheriff formed a task force. Another overdosed on the couch, and his parents thought maybe they should just let him go.

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  17. derwood said on March 30, 2015 at 11:33 am

    This was also a good comparison and breakdown of the differences and consequences of the mess in Indiana.

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  18. Sherri said on March 30, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Good article on the Indiana law. The politics matter; analyses of the law that ignore the politics are disingenuous. Of course, some small business is likely to refuse service to same-sex couples. It happened in Washington pretty much the instant same sex marriage became legal, and Washington doesn’t have a RFRA and does have a state anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation.

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  19. Dorothy said on March 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I did that, Danny?! Sounds like something I’d do, but I don’t remember…!

    If anyone you know or love was ever a recipient of an organ donation, you might love this story. Ah hell, you don’t even have to know a recipient. This is a wonderful story regardless:

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  20. nancy said on March 30, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Wow, watch David Long squirm when his colleague admits yes, you can put up a “no gays allowed” sign in your Indiana business. Long’s wife is a TV news anchor and quite the community-theater darling. I wonder how the many gay men who keep those productions running have crossed the Longs off their Christmas-card list.

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  21. Charlotte said on March 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Here’s your climate change story for the morning. Red Lodge ski area had to be evacuated on Saturday because of a nearby forest fire. During ski season.

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  22. brian stouder said on March 30, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    The fancy cocktail in the festive glass? – reminded me that Pam just in the past few days began binge-watching……..Mad Men!

    And she’s been laughing at the ’60’s stuff (the phone on the wall was a biggie, aside from the office equipment and typewriters).

    At some point before the exciting part of our day arrived yesterday, I saw a scene where a guy who was a stickler for keeping his new Cadillac clean and pristine (even as they picnicked and left all the trash to blow) got caught-out by his wife (to whom he is unfaithful), and she puked in the Caddy!

    Episode ended, Pam and I laughed, and then she went into another episode as I wandered off

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  23. James said on March 30, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I haven’t read the Indiana legislation, but I did read the Georgia one (I believe they’re bigot boilerplate).

    What struck me was a section that said:
    “(2) Laws neutral toward religion have the same potential to burden religious exercise as laws purposely intended to interfere with religious exercise;”

    Isn’t that nonsensical?

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  24. James said on March 30, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Oh, and my Grumbly take on it:

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  25. Judybusy said on March 30, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Dorothy, that was truly touching. What courage this woman has.

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  26. 4dbirds said on March 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Heroin. My spine shudders. My son died of a herion overdose. After much investigation and some begged for truth from his friends, we found out he ordered it on the “dark” web. A site called Silk Road whose creator was just sentenced to prison. Not that there isn’t another silk road now operating on the dark web. The crap was mailed to my house.

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  27. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Here are the latest comments from James Fallows on the Germanwings plane crash. This one begins with links to his previous posts. This has been a very interesting discussion with lots of comments from pilots of different ages and different kinds and levels of experience. Lots of discussion of the consequences of variations in training practices and the effects of cost pressures in the airline industry.

    Ultimately, though, the discussion seems to be moving toward the idea that there is really nothing more to be done to prevent a determined pilot from doing what Lubitz did–at least nothing more than the “two people in the cockpit” practice that is already the rule in the U.S.

    Even more frequent mental health exams are not likely to provide much benefit. After all, millions of people suffer from depression and take anti-depressants, but almost none of them commit horrible crimes. Even suicide, as common as it is, is infrequent compared to the number of people in treatment for depression. And psychological testing is simply not accurate enough to detect the extremely rare case of an individual likely to commit mass murder.

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  28. alex said on March 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Long seems so much more at ease when Kevin Leininger’s got him between two ferns.

    This is a state legislature that until now has never faced any serious blowback in response to its habits of right-wing grandstanding, and one of the reasons Pence and his predecessor Mitch Daniels are often mentioned as ideal GOP presidential candidates is their seeming ability to mollify the crazies without creating much of a shitstorm. Guess those days are over and glad for it too. Now if they’d just get called out for enacting the ALEC agenda.

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  29. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Great story, indeed, Dorothy. Reaching for my tissues now.

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  30. Scout said on March 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    From Nancy’s linked RIFRA story:

    “One of the leading RIFRA proponents in Indiana is Advance America (not to be confused with the payday lending company). As the message on its web site explains (emphases in original): “SB 101 will help protect religious freedom in Indiana by providing protection for individuals with sincerely held religious beliefs, along with Christian businesses and churches. SB 101 will help protect individuals, Christian businesses and churches from those supporting homosexual marriages and those supporting government recognition and approval of gender identity (male cross-dressers).”

    They don’t even pretend it is to protect the religious sensibilities of all, just Christians. Then they wonder why they are “persecuted.” And before anyone tries to crank up the howl machine, I’m not talking about ALL Christians. Just the ones who act nothing like Christ ever would have.

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  31. Sherri said on March 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Pence and company have a straightforward way to convince us all that their actions are not about legalizing discrimination: simply pass a state-wide anti-discrimination law that include protection for sexual orientation. I’m sure the state ACLU chapter can provide some language, or neighbor state Illinois likewise.

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  32. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Tonight, PBS is beginning a three-part series on cancer based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. It’s described as executive produced and presented by Ken Burns, but he is not the director. Here’s a favorable review from the LA Times.

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  33. Charlotte said on March 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Oh 4dbirds! That’s heartbreaking. My deepest condolences …
    My mother (alcoholic) figured out pretty quick that the housekeeper person she hired after surgery was WAY too interested in her pain meds … hid them and fired her. This was in Kentucky, which as we’re learning, has a huge problem with that.

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  34. MichaelG said on March 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Joe, you don’t have to “understand the gay lifestyle”, whatever that means. Just respect it and live and let Iive. And, Joe, please show an attribution for the stuff you paste in your comments. Also please explain to me why income derived from investments and sales and whatnot should not be taxed when income derived from the sweat of your labor should be taxed. If that isn’t the ultimate fuck you to the working class and a fine illustration of the difference between the 1% and the rest of us I don’t know what is. What accounts for the difference? Please explain to me which group of people tend to receive which type of income.

    Boy, Brian. That car is toast. So glad everybody got out OK.

    You’re right, Charlotte. In California the fire season now runs pretty much 12 months.

    There’s a lot of remodeling, upgrading and so forth going on here. I’ve seen demolition going on at lots of sites. They just tear stuff down and toss it into little bins or bags. Nobody seems to care about asbestos or lead or any of those bad things. I know there wasn’t a lot of asbestos and lead in 15th Century construction but surely there must be some old 50s and 60s construction in those buildings.

    They do things differently here. There are more people on a construction site and fewer machines and the machines are smaller. I’m sure part of it is the constricted work area. My guess would be that construction takes longer here than in the US.

    I’ve probably bitched about this before but the European system of posting street names on almost legible plaques up on the sides of buildings somewhere almost close to the corner sucks. Sure, there is better signage on large streets at major intersections but that’s a consolation prize. I don’t know how people drive around here.

    I sat at the bar in a joint for dinner this evening. I had what was described as an “entrecote of veal” which looked like a filet. It was pretty tough but tasty. It was accompanied by some scalloped like potatoes that were excellent. The place was pretty quiet. I guess it’s Monday. There are lots of restaurants that don’t open until eight.

    Writing that other stuff seems to detract from my travel mood. Oh, well.

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  35. nancy said on March 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Barbara (4dbirds to you guys), that’s terrible. I remember when your son died there were some unanswered questions, and it appears you now have them. The dark-web stuff is equally horrifying. I get the feeling a lot of internet issues are coming to a boil now — the abuse and privacy violations, and now this. If these Silicon Valley are so la-di-da libertarian, they better put some self-regulation in place before someone does it for them.

    It reminds me of a former colleague, a Kentucky native, who when oxycontin came along and basically went through his old neighborhoods like cancer, never once blamed the people who made it happen, i.e., the pharma companies that peddled these drugs EXACTLY the way illicit dope dealers do. (It can’t hurt you, the first samples are free, etc.) It was all the users’ fault, for ruining these wonderful drugs that could help so many. I asked what was so wonderful about them, and he said they were time-release, so you didn’t have to cycle through so many I’m-hurting-time-for-my-pills episodes. Talk about being mad at the wrong people, but he always was a born Pinkerton.

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  36. Dexter said on March 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    And he ruined a perfectly suave cocktail experience by eating wasabi peas? Geez. Ever see Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes”? An old man tries the other old man’s grandson’s wasabi peas and damn-near chokes. Funny stuff.

    I’m in the middle of the just-released S9 of “Trailer Park Boys” on Netflix. Just delightful. I love that show, which has been around for 17 years now, in one format or another. Recently the boys signed a pact with Netflix, which pleased me.

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  37. alex said on March 30, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Here’s a Mike Pence flashback from 2010:

    I seem to recall a Mike Pence trial balloon ad posted to the internet years ago that was eerily similar to the above but was a ripoff of the one below and zeroed in on the gay marriage issue:

    Anyone remember it or know how to find it?

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  38. Deborah said on March 30, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    4dbirds, so sorry to hear that. I think I remember reading that the guy who started that Silk Road site got convicted, I sure hope so.

    Heroin is a huge problem in northern New Mexico, only it didn’t start with prescription drugs recently, it goes back generations. That town of Chimayo that I spoke of yesterday regarding Holy Week pilgrimages was heroin central a few years back but that has now shifted to Espanola which is a bigger town closer to Abiquiu (about 21 miles). Espanola is in a gorgeous valley with mountains surrounding it but the built environment of the town is hideous, lots of poverty and crime there.

    We just returned from Abiquiu where our construction guys finished one of the tasks and we’re ready to go to the next one which won’t start until a couple of months from now because of other work they have contracted to do. Frustrating but that’s how it goes.

    MichaelG, good to hear that there is a lot of construction going on in Barcelona. The economy is so bad there, I hope that helps jump start it. Many of my husband’s students in architecture (Illinois Institute of Technology) come from Spain, Barcelona and Madrid. There’s some school over there that has some association with IIT. He has always been so impressed with those students, says their secondary education system there makes the US look pretty bad in comparison. It’s also sad that so many go back home with no job prospects. So hopefully even if it’s not new construction there are some jobs opening up.

    Dexter, I love wasabi peas.

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  39. David C. said on March 30, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I see they passed Medicaid expansion in Montana. Can there possibly be Republicans more Republican then a Montana Republican? I hope this means the dam will finally break, and they will drop their non-sense opposition.

    I still pine for the first Amish bus driver case to test a RFRA.

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  40. Joe K said on March 30, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Michael G,
    Sorry I didn’t post the authors of those past two pieces.
    I’ll say it once more, I accept gays I’m not bothered by the gay life style, to each his own, I have played rugby with and against gay players, the indiana law sucks, my oldest daughter had a gay man stand up for her at her wedding, next to her, as I guess her maid of honor although I wouldn’t call it that, more like her best man, and he is a great guy and a rugby player. My first flight instructor was gay. Is this enough to convince you? There are a lot of things I don’t understand in this world but I do accept what I don’t understand.
    Pilot Joe

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Nancy, with hesitation, I would argue with your assessment re: pharma companies and the opiate problem. Synthetic opiates represented one bulge in the history, but the heart of the issue is in fact well described in the HuffPo piece — Medicaid and the justice system are strongly biased against replacement and diversion in favor of the complete (and usually immediate) cessation approach associated with A.A.

    I’m not going to take on A.A. right now, but the heroin and opiate problem is one of addiction — which is a problem that has long been with us in alcohol, nicotine, drugs of various sorts — and of treatment. We had cheap waves of heroin ripple through the country in the 60s & 70s, the prescription versions displaced those both through pill mills and outright illegal use, and the move to controls on OxyThisAndThat simply opened the door to cheap heroin again ($5 a hit in my area, usually sold in a four-square for $20). When people decide or are ordered by courts to look for relief from the addictive behavior, they find a cosmos of options ranging from expensive to horribly expensive, most of it staffed by minimum wage ex-addicts doing University of Phoenix certificates, or entry-level BSWs if you’re lucky, with a rarely seen MD and/or maybe a NP on staff giving oversight.

    But the problem is that cold turkey and total abstinence without any other counseling or social supports, especially with no use of Sube or Bupe, is infamously ineffective, to where everyone in the AOD community just shrugs and says “hey, seven times” — the mythology that the average addict needs seven tries in rehab/in-patient/groups to actually stop using long-term. It’s not a fact that you have to try seven times, but it’s become a norm, because you need a good solid CBT counselor for at least eight to twelve sessions, and ideally a medical director guiding the Suboxone or other replacement therapy.

    “Willpower” is not the answer. Neither is “just” medication, because you have to get at what the addictive substance is doing for the addict . . . and it’s always doing something. Sometimes it’s dealing with real physical pain that hasn’t been properly treated, sometimes it’s trauma and psychological pain that has never been addressed that the substances help mute, or it’s a basic emptiness that the drugs fill. But you need help and treatment, and yes groups can be a huge part of that — but groups and abstinence are ridiculously ineffective, and that’s virtually the only approach that the courts and our Medicaid regime will support.

    End vent.

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  42. Deborah said on March 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the link Dorothy, I’m a puddle of tears right now. My favorite was the last paragraph “”The way I see it,” Sarah Gray said, “our son got into Harvard, Duke, and Penn. He has a job. He is relevant to the world. I only hope my life can be as relevant.”

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  43. Sherri said on March 30, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss, 4dbirds.

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  44. Deborah said on March 30, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Did anyone watch the HBO documentary last night, Going Clear, about Scientology. Sorry if there are any Scientologists here, but Holy Cow, L. Ron Hubbard came off looking like an ego maniacal creep. I could hardly stand looking at him in the clips they showed. And Tom Cruze appeared equally egomaniacal as he addressed some devotees at over the top Scientology events. Creepy, creepy, creepy. I don’t know if that makes me guilty of discriminating against religious freedom, but in my mind that is not a legitimate religion.

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  45. Dexter said on March 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Deborah, I have been hearing all sorts of feedback on the doc you watched…I watched an hour of “Last Man On Earth”. Will Forte was so great in “Nebraska” and now he’s in this really odd comedy. The new guy character is a dead-on clone of Oliver Hardy. Mel Rodriguez.

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  46. 4dbirds said on March 30, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    It has been almost two years and I’m finally at a point where I can talk about him without welling up.

    It took the toxicology report to find the exact reason to his death. Everyone suspected it was a drug misadventure but never thought heroin. He lived with us and his dad and I had no idea. We asked a few of his friends to level with us and that’s when we found out about silk road. I don’t know how long he used or if he was a dabbler or addicted. He was very high functioning but I don’t know how heroin works. I’ve known some very high functioning alcoholics.

    I don’t have any feelings about the creator/owner of the dark web site. I’m glad he’s in jail but if it wasn’t him it would have been someone else. My son was grown man. I don’t have cravings for drink or drugs so I don’t understand it.

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  47. Danny said on March 30, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    4D, my family had a similar experience with one of my younger cousins. He was a body builder at one point and an army veteran. He was always clean cut and in shape. No one realized he had a smack habit until the night he died of an overdose. It was surreal for all of us.

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  48. Basset said on March 30, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    One of my two brothers died from the cumulative effects of ingesting everything he could lay hands on for close to forty years, the other from a heroin OD. Police didn’t spend much effort on the latter – another lowlife gone, so what.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    We’re doing a decent thing in steadily reducing the numbers of people who go to prison for drug possession only, but we’re diverting them to . . . sink or swim. Too many sink for that to keep making any sense.

    4dbirds, I’m sorry we in the system weren’t able to do more for your son before he died. I’m afraid we’re not there yet for others like him. Until treatment is rationalized and expanded, we’re just going to keep seeing more deaths, and that can’t be acceptable.

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  50. Deborah said on March 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Hey, I mentioned Architecture a couple of comments ago that reminded me of Peter. Haven’t heard from him in a while that I can remember. Is everything OK Peter? I know you mentioned something about heart issues a few weeks (months?) ago.

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  51. 4dbirds said on March 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    It is amazing how so many in our group are connected to people who ruined themselves with drugs and alcohol. My condolences to all of us. It is definitely surreal.

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  52. 4dbirds said on March 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Also, when I say ruin, I don’t mean it in a blame or shame way. Ruin is just the result of the disease.

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  53. Jolene said on March 30, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    My condolences to 4dbirds, Danny, Basset and others who have lost loved ones in this very sad way. I’ve been spared this experience, but your stories and the HuffPost story that Nancy linked to make it clear that we need better answers than those based on moralism and punitiveness.

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  54. Sherri said on March 30, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    The “treatment” available is very much sink or swim. I rather do that than lock everybody up, but even better would be spending resources to actually treat the problems involved. Thirty days of rehab and a Big Book doesn’t really address anything.

    I got sober thanks to meetings in church basements, but that’s not all I did. I’ve also spent years working on the depression that I was self-medicating. Without antidepressants, I wouldn’t have been able to do therapy, and without therapy, staying sober would have been a lot harder, regardless of how many meetings I attended or how hard I worked the program. But I had time and money and insurance to be able to do that.

    You’d think that insurance companies would have started pushing for different treatment models by now, rather than ones that don’t have a particularly good track record.

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  55. Charlotte said on March 30, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    David C @39. Wowza. I had to go check the Billings Gazette site, but yes, finally, the Medicaid expansion went through. I have a friend in town who lost everything, and damn near died because she was a single woman with no kids. Misdiagnosed for a long time, lost her business, had to declare bankruptcy, and I think the only reason she survived was they finally got her through on SS disability. Early 40s, health is ruined for a long long time if not for life. If she’d had access to decent care during the year she was waiting for SSD she might not be in such bad shape. Someone beloved in the community. And I have to say, our local senator is a dick in many ways, but was one of the guys pushing for this bill.
    It’s problematic, and there are all sorts of probably-unsustainable copays, but sort of like the ACA itself, now that its through, we can fix that.
    The other thing that worked in this bill’s favor is that Montana has such a long history of opposing dark money in elections — in 1899 the Senate refused to seat William A. Clark because the mining companies basically bought his seat. The Koch brothers pissed off a lot of MT Republicans on the ground by having these “town meetings” to which their elected rep wasn’t invited, and by throwing out regular people who didn’t agree with them.
    Combination of giving the finger to outside $$ and agitators, and actual compassion for people we know. Remember, there’s still fewer than a million people in the whole state. Everyone knows someone who fell between the ACA and the unfunded Medicaid cracks.

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  56. basset said on March 30, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Glass (plastic) of wine in front of me right now, I don’t do church basements. I hear about my faults and failings quite enough, no need to go looking for it.

    Grabbing the thread by its shoulders and giving it a fierce twist, just to get up out of this topic… prison dog did great this weekend, got around more than I usually do. Flea market, farmers’ market, Costco, fast food burger place, Barnes & Noble… lots of people, mostly female, swooping in and trying to pet him… but he is a working dog in training with a keep-off sign on his back, most of em understood.

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  57. Sherri said on March 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Beautiful eulogy by sportswriter Ivan Maisel, for his presumed drowned college-aged son:

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  58. Crazycatlady said on March 31, 2015 at 1:10 am

    I was trying to think of the last time we went to a place so classy as to not have children’s high chairs available. I often dream of sneaking away to the Dirty Dog Jazz Club, but the spouse would not like it. I would wear a black dress covered with sequins, and sip from a lovely drink as I enjoy the music. Eh, why kid myself. I guess it’s a Bud Lite Lime, sweatpants and an episode of Vanity Fair Confidential.

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  59. Dexter said on March 31, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Crazycatlady, you is one CRAZEE cat!

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