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Letters from North America

I tend to think of this weekly column as carrying a certain amount of ... to keep you, the loyal reader informed of certain points of interest as they become ... no matter where in t

I tend to think of this weekly column as carrying a certain amount of responsibility to keep you, the loyal reader informed of certain points of interest as they become available, no matter where in the world they occur. To me, itís a sacred trust and one that I do not take lightly. Itís a heavy burden to voluntarily place upon oneís self, this universal omnibudsman role for the benefit of those unfortunates in our country who might otherwise remain in the dark about vital information that certainly affects each and every one of us. A case in point is this one which I happened to stumble upon while conducting my weekly research for your enlightenment.

The University of Georgia has just completed a long and through study which shows conclusively that rats exposed to marijuana lose their sense of perception. Yes, these dedicated scientists, working feverishly, working long and arduous hours in cramped conditions have proved once and for all that when rats are exposed to an injection of synthetic marijuana they become (are you ready for this?) DOPEY.

This experiment was conducted in the strictest of environments by using two different sounds. If the short sound was heard, the rats had to press the lever on the right to receive a pellet of food. If the long sound was heard by our furry inmates, they soon learned to press the lever on the left. Short sound, right lever. Long sound, left lever. Got it? Good. You can be assured you would have been fed. The rats did fine under this arrangement.

And then, guess what? Yes, dear reader the good old US Government stepped in and authorized a study to find out if the behavior of these little animals would be altered in any way if they were stoned. And what do you think they found?

Thatís right boys and girls. The little mice just went bonkers and didnít care at all about which lever they pressed when the horns went off. Except when they got the munchies. Can you imagine that? They pressed the right lever when the long sound was made and the left lever when the short sound was made. Isnít that the most amazing thing youíve ever heard? Once they were smashed out of their little gourds they didnít care if they ate or not. They got confused. Happy, but confused, nevertheless.

The point of all of this was to determine if animals have a sense of time. Obviously any animal (human or rodent) stoned on grass loses track of time and cannot concentrate. Not that rats and mice have to be anywhere at some specific time anyway, but I suppose itís good to know they couldnít be relied upon in the event we needed them for some important national security issue or something. One of the researchers was quoted as saying ďWe and other animals have a sense of time. We can judge how long we have been waiting for a bus, for example, and decide that the current wait is longer or shorter than usual.Ē He went on to sayÖĒThe marijuana-like substance dramatically altered the ability of the rats to maintain sustained attention. The implication is clear, that marijuana smokers shouldnít drive after smoking.Ē

He didnít elaborate on who should or shouldnít drive. Rats or us? Iím also confused about the bus part. I havenít taken a bus in quite a long time, so I canít tell you from first hand experience, but have rats taken to riding the Metro in parts of this country?

Boy, am I glad we spent a ton of taxpayer bucks to make a study of this magnitude. Not to be cynical, but I wonder what happens to those rats if you make them chug down, say four or five vodka martinis? They probably need to call a taxi. Friends donít let rats driveFree Web Content, do they? Iím looking into the possibilities of a federal grant to study the effects of obesity in ferrets if they eat forty hot dogs a day for a month. Iíll keep you posted on my progress.

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I was born at a very early age. I arrived in this world with very little. It was during the war and according to my parents, names were being rationed out. My Mom was kind of slow and she couldn't run very fast. I guess by the time she got down to the Federal Bureau of Names, all of the Johns, Jims, and Davids were gone.
So, according to what I've been toldÖshe just settled on two names that were the same, but weren't. As in Peary Perry.

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