Tag Archives: America

Summer Reading #1 – Angels in America


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One of my goals this summer is to read more books (at least 5-10 in total).  Days are getting much longer, which means I get extra time to spend outdoors.  With all of these new books I got over the past few months, I figured it’s the perfect time to do some summer reading.  It is also a good time to discuss my summer reading titles for the blog.

First up on the summer reading list involves a timeless play that takess place during the 1980s AIDS crisis when the disease was rampant all across the country.  During these rough times, many gay characters turned on each other due to various personal conflicts among each other.  This is the story of Angels in America.

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Angels in America is a two-part gay fantasia series written by Tony Kushner.  Roy Cohn is a successful New York lawyer and power broker.  He is a deeply closeted gay man who has AIDS.  Through his political connections, he is able to score some supply of an experimental drug called AZT.  Alone in a hospital, he is constantly judged by his night nurse Belize (friend of Prior’s and former drag queen) and the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg.

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In the meantime, Joseph Pitt is a closeted gay Mormon and republic who is offered a job in Washington D.C. by Roy Cohn.  Joe hesitates about accepting the job due to his agoraphobic wife Harper who refuses to move.  Harper starts suspecting that Joe does not love her as she loves him.  It is then that Joe confesses to her that he is gay.

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After his confession, Joe hooks up with Louis Ironson.  Louis’s boyfriend, Prior Walters, contracted AIDS.  While Prior’s illness progresses, Louis moves out and abandons Prior altogether.  Prior is then visited by a pair of ghosts who claim to be his own ancestors and hears this angelic voice informing him to prepare for her arrival.

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The first part of Angels in America is titled ‘Millennium Approaches’ and premiered in May 1991; meanwhile, the second part ‘Perestroika’ premiered in November 1992.  These two parts happen in a span of almost five years.  It’s a metaphorical and symbolical examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America during the 1980s.  Many characters are supernatural beings (such as angels) while others become deceased persons (who are the ghosts).

Image result for Angels in America HBO

Image result for Angels in America HBO

Years after the play was released, Angels in America was made into an HBO series back in December 7th 2003.  The miniseries starred Al Pacino as Roy Cohn with supporting actors including Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk, Jeffrey Wright, and others.  There are six episodes that span within a total of 352 minutes.  It makes for a great miniseries that stems from the play.

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Overall, I really enjoyed reading Angels in America.  It was definitely intense to read and I really connected with the characters throughout.  I really enjoyed the symbolism and metaphors surrounding the whole AIDS crisis.  There were times where the story line had some bizarre scenes in the mix, but I understood what was happening either way.

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This play was a great start to my summer reading list.  There were AIDS, homosexuality, heartbreaks, new friendships, and even betrayal all rolled up into one incredible story.  You should definitely pick up Angels in America this summer if you want a riveting tale that involves one of the most notorious health PR nightmares in American history.

Check out Angels in America this summer.

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MA Recreational Cannabis Shop Update


Image result for NIMBY

Image result for NIMBY

So yesterday we dived into how NIMBY has been put into play in Massachusetts lately.  Various communities around the state are voting to prevent recreational cannabis shops from opening.  Even with cannabis being voted legal back in 2016, many people still oppose the idea of the shops opening in their community.  The whole ‘Not In My Backyard’ mindset is strong around the Bay State.

Image result for State of Massachusetts

Image result for State of Massachusetts

With July 1st quickly approaching, one thing that is on many people’s mind is how many legal dispensaries will be open.  How many dispensaries are set to open in July?  The total count isn’t released yet; one thing is for certain – there could be fewer dispensaries opening than anticipated.  At this point, we are looking at about 12 or less dispensaries that will be ready to be open for business by July 1st.

This definitely comes as a shock, especially to cannabis connoisseurs like me.  I’ll admit that I was baffled myself when I first heard of this news.  It truly is tough to grasp the fact that there won’t be as much dispensaries open as anticipated.

Image result for Cannabis Industry

Image result for Cannabis Industry

But just remember this – July 1st marks as the STARTING point for the recreational dispensaries.  These dispensaries start launching on that date and many others will open up over time.  Very few will be offered to the community, but a small number is better than nothing.  The number of dispensaries will continue to grow over the next few years.  July 1st is one of many important dates for the recreational cannabis industry.

Image result for Cannabis Industry

Image result for Cannabis Industry

At this point, it will be important to keep watch of the dispensaries that do open on time.  Any number of dispensaries opening, whether it be six or thirty, is better than none opening at all.  These leading dispensaries will set the stage for many businesses to come.

Image result for Cannabis Industry

Image result for Cannabis Industry

One thing to keep track of is what kind of competition comes into play.  Since no recreational dispensary has opened, there is zero competition happening within businesses.  No competition means no publicity is generated for the public (just remember — NO publicity is worse than bad publicity).

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There are still some major hurdles that the industry is currently facing (Not In My Backyard being a major one!), so there is still a long way to go for the cannabis industry.  It is a long and sluggish process that is being rolled out here in Massachusetts.  Even still, we have come a long way since cannabis prohibition.

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In the end, it isn’t all bad news for Massachusetts residents.  There are going to be recreational shops open, but fewer will operate by July 1st.  For now, we will have to keep watch of the dispensaries that do open up this summer.  It is then that we will see some competition happening between businesses.

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For now, all we can do is wait to see what this next chapter brings for the cannabis industry this summer.

Legal Pot Shop? Not In My Backyard!


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Image result for MA Cannabis

A lot of excitement has been brewing around MA, what with recreational shops soon to be opening up this summer.  MA residents voted for legal recreational cannabis almost two years ago and the shops will be opening up before you know it.  However, there was a significantly lower amount that will be opening up than anticipated.

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But we’ll cross that second part of this topic another day; right now, our focus is on an interesting turn of events that has been happening lately.  Within the state of Massachusetts, many towns and municipals have been voting to ban recreational shops from coming into their area.  Recreational cannabis shops are still being dampened by bad publicity even after being voted legal almost two years ago.

So what exactly is going on here?  How is it that recreational cannabis shops are being shooed away from many areas of Massachusetts?  What sort of trickery is this?

Well folks – this string of events just so happens to stem from a PR term called NIMBY.

Image result for NIMBY

Image result for NIMBY

NIMBY – formerly known as Not In My Back Yard – refers to an opposition of an undesirable development on a piece of land.  A resident (or residents) of an area reject a certain project due to the negative effects it could bring.  There are projects that could be for the environment (like a wind turbine or solar panels) or even for entertainment purposes (i.e. a shopping mall or porn shop).  Some reasoning that gets brought up include increase in crime, environmental pollution, harm to local small businesses, loss of the community’s ‘small-town’ feel, and other logical arguments.

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Whatever the example may be, NIMBY happens in every type of community.  Towns, municipals, and even big cities all deal with the residents discussing what they want in their backyard.  And that kind of discussion is what’s happening all across MA these days.

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The people may have spoken, but then the reality kicks in – recreational cannabis shops will be entering their neighborhood.  Legal cannabis shops will be opening up in THEIR community that they grew up in for so long.  A whole new change is coming and they must comprehend how to adapt to the new surroundings.

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It seems as though we have ourselves a double-edged sword here.  On the one hand, the people voted for legalized cannabis almost two years ago.  And yet, those very same residents of MA now have to make the decision about having recreational shops in their community.  That right here is where things get interesting – the idea becomes more personal, hitting close to home for many folks.

Image result for Colorado Cannabis Shops

Image result for Colorado Cannabis Shops

To be honest, I expected to see NIMBY in action here in Massachusetts.  The same event happened years ago when states like Colorado and Oregon voted to legalize cannabis shops.  Recreational cannabis shops still opened up, but not without dealing with NIMBY.

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This isn’t meant to highlight something good or bad; but rather, what kind of reality is happening here.  We are seeing NIMBY in action, with more towns and municipals deciding whether to open up cannabis shops.  Many residents are still holding discussions with their community to this day.

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Even still, one thing remains clear – recreational cannabis shops WILL open up here in Massachusetts this summer.  There may not be as much operating at first, so we will just have to keep watch on the ones that are open.

Pot and the City – Starring Cynthia Nixon


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Back in March, Cynthia Nixon announced that she would be running against Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York.  After retiring her role as Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s Sex and the City, Nixon channeled her inner-Miranda into running for governor.  If successful, she would become the first governor who is both female and part of the LGBTQ community.

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Cynthia Nixon already announced one of her primary priorities if she were elected as governor of New York City.  Nixon’s first priority as governor would be – WAIT FOR IT – legalizing cannabis for the state of New York.

Image result for Cynthia Nixon Governor Cannabis

Image result for Cynthia Nixon Governor Cannabis

That’s right folks – Cynthia Nixon wants to legalize cannabis in New York.  Nixon made cannabis a central part of her campaign because it touches up on so many other issues, especially for people of color.  She called for cannabis legalization a mere month after announcing her candidacy.  So not only is Nixon looking to become the first female and LGBTQ governor of New York, but she is looking to legalize cannabis for the state as well.

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            In real life, Cynthia Nixon has only smoked cannabis twice in her lifetime; even still, cannabis was used in a few instances of Sex and the City.  The first time was during the episode ‘Hot Child in the City’ (season 3, episode, 15) when Carrie smokes weed with her boyfriend Wade “Superboy” Adams in his apartment.  After Wade’s mother finds the bag of weed in the apartment, Carrie ended up taking it home to enjoy it with the girls.

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The other instance happens a little later on in the episode ‘The Post-It Always Sticks Twice’ (season 6, episode 7) when Carrie and her friends visit the new nightclub Bed after her boyfriend broke up with her through a Post-It note.  Miranda, being that she was able to fit into her new skinny jeans, gained the confidence to buy some cannabis from some guys on the street.  Two distinct instances of cannabis use from one timeless show about a group of gals searching for love in New York City.

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Image result for SATC

All joking aside, the liberal views from Sex and the City seems to be rubbing off New York City.  New York City is looking to become the next big legal city this year.  If successful, New York City could easily rake in hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy.  Its famous figures like Cynthia Nixon that will bring New York City one step closer towards legalization.

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After sharing cannabis with her fictional gal pals on Sex and the City, Cynthia Nixon is looking to provide that opportunity for New Yorkers alike.  Fiction is usually mirrored by reality; but in this case, REALITY is currently being mirrored by FICTION.

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In order for cannabis use to become legal in the state of New York, Nixon will have to channel her inner-Miranda in order to make that happen.  Who knows, maybe she will share some more weed with her gal pals.  Only this time, it won’t be because Carrie got broken up through a Post-It note.