January 2, 2017

Tecopa Update

I'm just home from three nights of camping at Tecopa Hot Springs. The water there is as odorless as the hot water in Desert Hot Springs. Below is a comparison of the minerals between DHS and Tecopa.

Information on the Desert Hot Springs Aquifer came from Two Bunch Palms Resort. The numbers for Tecopa's hot mineral water came from Delight's. Units are PPM. ND = "Not Detected." I would appreciate it if anyone who can fill in a blank spot would leave a comment with the data.

DHS Aquifer
(hot)
Tecopa
Aluminum Oxide ND0.2
Bicarbonate 39668
Calcium 317.2
Chloride 120371
Fluoride 6.22.4
Hydrogen-ion Activity (ph) 8.47.5
Iron Oxide ND0.094
Magnesium ND9.7
Silica 0.53 
Sodium 300725
Sulphate 470497.5
Lithium 0.24 
Lead4
Boron9.2
Selenium8
Potassium22.3
Arsenic0.24
CarbonatesND45.2

Another difference that I only noticed this time (although it's never changed) is that in Tecopa, they are pumping a LOT of water into the hot tubs, 24 hours a day. I couldn't give you an objective estimate of gallons per minute, but I'll say that in DHS the flow of the water into and out of any particular hot tub is pretty subtle. The owner of the place could tell you if the water is flowing, otherwise you'd probably never notice. At the county baths in Tecopa the water is gushing into the first tub and roaring as it pours out of the second tub on its journey back into the ground. You have to really speak up to be heard over the water.

I counted the cinder blocks so I can tell you that the second tub at Tecopa is 16 feet long...and after that I forgot to do any more counting. I'd estimate the width at 10 feet. I didn't count any cinder blocks in the first tub, but it's roughly the same volume. One night when I was there, someone slapped what looked like a plastic bucket lid over the drain (which is just a 6-inch hole) in the second pool. This completely stopped the outflow and made it possible to talk at a normal volume. Over a period of about half an hour I watched the water level rise about six inches. With another couple of inches it would have started to run out into the dressing area. They pulled that plug off when they left.

Tecopa is showing astounding (for Tecopa) signs of prosperity for such a tiny, remote, and harsh town. There's a brewery. My big question was: What is the source of their water? There is no drinking water aquifer there. All the springs are hot mineral springs. Here's what I found on their website: "Now, we hearken back to the days when miners lived there and brewed their own beer with the same artesian water which flows daily from the natural springs." Maybe they run it through reverse osmosis to bring it closer to potability...or maybe not! For those Tecopans who drink more beer than water, this could be a risk.

The Bistro restaurant is still there, but I hear it's gone through a number of personnel changes. The food is still good (AMAZINGLY good for this outpost of civilization). I had the pork chops. All the guys said that the night before the pork chops were wonderful. Mine were dry and overcooked. They do pizza and there is no additional charge for additional toppings! Pig out! The best thing about the place, though, is the people. They are seriously understaffed (especially on New Year's Eve), but all the staff are really great. Service is slow, but very willing to customize to your pleasure. Prices are not bad at all ($21 for those pork chops). When I was there it was almost like being at a party. On their menu you will find a few dishes with scorpions in them. I asked, so I can tell you the scorpions are canned in alcohol in Thailand, so they come into the U.S. as food and it's about as safe as eating a dead Thai scorpion can be. When someone orders a scorpion dish, it's a big show...and not like those restaurants where the entire staff turns out to sing you a really bad birthday song. One of the staff comes out carrying a bullhorn and an instant camera (you know, nueva Polaroid style) along with the food. She'll ask you to hold the scorpion in front of your open mouth while she takes a picture. I was told they have no flavor, but are crunchy and fairly hard to chew, according to three local experts, ages 6, 7 and 8. They all ate scorpions that night. For some this was a repeat adventure. And then they came over and wanted to tell us their ages! There's a lot of screaming, cheering and applauding when a scorpion is successfully swallowed.

A scorpion eater is supposed to write his name on the instant photo and then it gets pinned up to their wall of fame.

There was a table of four young people, two men, two women, seated boy-girl-boy-girl, so if I were to stereotype I'd guess heterosexual dates. The men ordered a scorpion dish (ice cream and some cake in a big bowl), one took a selfie as he held it in front of his mouth—and then he put it back into the ice cream! He didn't swallow! The other guy didn't eat one either, so we got to find out what happens with failures like this. The nice lady with the bullhorn announces to the room "We've got a couple of chicken shits right here!" and the crowd goes wild.

BTW, this is a BYO alcohol place.

Further up the road, there is now a McNeal's BBQ at the entrance road to Delight's. Some of us went there this morning for breakfast. They have a very brief menu, but the waitress named off a list of other dishes they had that was longer than the menu. They should probably just print out new menus every day on plain 8½x11. The staff was great...as staff seems to be everywhere in Tecopa. Outside of Burning Man, I've never seen such a bunch of hardworking, nice, and apparently quite honest people.

But the food at McNeal's. Urgh. I had the brisket sandwich. In Kansas City a barbecue brisket sandwich is a couple of slices of white sandwich bread laid out side by side on a plate, topped with a big pile of sliced brisket with some dill chips and something like coleslaw on the side. At Gates BBQ in Kansas City that would cost you $5.75. It might be more than some people can eat. At McNeal's where all the meat is smoked for 15 hours, the brisket sandwich (their only other meat option is pulled pork - no chicken, no ribs) was a hamburger bun laid open face on top of which was shredded cabbage with no dressing at all (they called it "coleslaw") and a small amount of cubed brisket (I've never seen it cubed) that was dry and not very flavorful. Ten bucks. The pulled pork looked like a much better deal and the guys who ordered that said they thought it was very good. They got a much larger quantity of meat and sauce.

I didn't notice the most obvious lack at the table until someone asked the waitress for barbecue sauce!! She brought out one cold bottle of a thin red sauce. I put some on my brisket and it didn't seem to add flavor or moisture. At any other barbecue restaurant I would have tasted a couple of straight spoonfuls of the sauce, but I didn't even think of it, I was already so disappointed with what I had.

I'd say go there and try it. Mine was so bad it had to have been a fluke. They had been closed the day before, so my brisket may have been left from Saturday night. Order anything but the brisket (they have vegetarian choices) and just enjoy the Tecopa ambiance. They've got a big screen TV and play music (possibly satellite) and there's a large area of the floor that's clear, just about the right amount of space if some people wanted to dance.

I was there for three nights with Great Outdoors. I was the only one in a tent, my nice windtight tent, not the lightweight cool one I took to Burning Man, so I was always comfortable in there. But most of the time it was too cold (and sometimes windy) to sit outside. There was always, of course, the hot water tubs across the street. The cost of camping ($22/night for a spot with electricity) includes unlimited usage of the hot water tubs. One night we held a potluck dinner inside the RV that had the biggest popout. I brought my last package of Hydrox cookies. Most of the guys had never heard of them...and they were all of an age that the original Hydrox should have been available in their yoots. Maybe Sunshine Biscuit company was not entirely nationwide.

The county-owned campground and hot tubs use this website: tecopahotspringscampground.com which is not to be confused with the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort (tecopahotsprings.org) next door.

Neglected to mention for those new to the subject, the county hot tubs are sex-segregated with mandatory nudity. Very popular with immigrants from Korea, but it's not at all in the style of a Korean spa. Besides the group tubs, there is a third private hot tub room that is handicapped accessible and can be rented by anyone for their private enjoyment.


Here's your county campground on the west side of the roadway, and your county hot tubs on the east side and a bit to the northish. I never knew until I looked at this aerial view that the county tubs had one outdoor tub in back...or on the women's side.

permalink | January 2, 2017 at 09:54 PM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2016

Rats

Using dry ice to exterminate rats in their burrows in Boston, Chicago and New York.

permalink | September 16, 2016 at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 8, 2016

Finally!

For those young men who are confused by demonstrations using bananas, zucchinis or sausages, Ellis Lacy uses the best sort of phallus: his own erect penis. No ambiguity there.

permalink | July 8, 2016 at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2016

Seeing Clearly Underwater

Here's an article about the children in a Thailand tribe who can see clearly while swimming underwater. The researchers ruled out genetics and have determined that the children learn to voluntarily contract their pupils to their smallest size and change the shape of their lenses. A group of Swedish children learned to do it in one month. The ability disappears in adults.

permalink | April 23, 2016 at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2016

The Desert Hot Springs Marijuana Meeting

Everything you missed at last night's meeting. For the most part, a very interesting couple of hours. That is I, in the red t-shirt on the left of the screen as the video starts.

And this:

"I am a very conservative individual. I have totally done a 180 on my opinion" regarding marijuana, said [Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott] Matas, who describes himself as a right-of-center registered Republican.

permalink | April 21, 2016 at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2016

Three Cultivations Sites And One Dispensary Approved

I listened to last night's meeting of the Planning Commission from my private personal health facility, where I can exercise my right shoulder and hack up my left lung without disturbing the general public. Got to keep track of which marijuana facility is going where.

Last night the commission approved three more cultivation sites and one more dispensary.

Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative

The dispensary (Lawrence Bynum - Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative) is going to occupy the long-former location of Thai Palms on the northeast corner of Palm and Acoma. FINALLY, something to fill that blank in a prominent corner location. This is certainly going to be the most visible dispensary right here in the city. The site, which the dispensary will be renting, is connected also to the empty lot just east across the alley. There will be parking in that lot and quite a bit of discussion was about how MUCH of it would be used. There also was a general lamentation about the planning standards of the 1940s and '50s in this town. Yup. That's our legacy.

The site will have no more than one green cross displayed, and that will be painted on the south-facing Acoma side of the building. There will be potted plants along Acoma as well, including a few palm trees.

Desert's Finest Patient's Cooperative-interior plan
You can see on this interior plan
that the dispenary's space includes the area behind the barber shop next door. More than half of the space can be used for cultivation. This is, as far as I can recall, a larger space than at other dispensaries in town, but all the dispensaries are limited to 99 mature plants.

Approved unanimously.

After the approval, there was some discussion about a billboard on Palm that can be seen as you are coming into the city that is promoting a low price at some dispensary. I don't recall seeing that sign, but there did used to be a sign that you could see as you headed south on Palm Drive that advertised "Home of the $5 Gram," but that was for PSA Organica, which is one of the newer dispensaries in Palm Springs. The city attorney explained to the commission what the city was able to control and NOT able to control in public advertising. At least one commissioner thought advertising like that could sully the image of the city as "Dime bag DHS. While it did look like the low class sort of advertising you can find in Los Angeles, I think some price competition between dispensaries could be beneficial to the patients.

DHS Diversified

The first cultivation site on the agenda last night was by Ryan Po of DHS Diversified located at 65441 Two Bunch Palms Trail. That building has been used as a recycling center up to now.

One thing I have not heard is where are the tenants of these industrial buildings that are being snapped up for marijuana cultivation, relocating to? The Pentecostal church surely has enough money from its sale to relocate into a residential area of the city, but the industrial businesses must be leaving town. There are no spare buildings in our industrial zone now, and anyone who tried to buy a site to put up a new building would be competing with the marijuana industry. I hope all these cultivation sites become fully developed and employ as many people has they have been saying they will.

An advantage to going into an existing building, is that electric service is already there. Mr. Po said he has 400 amps, which was plenty.

Approved unanimously

Blue Mango

Kamran Amirianfar for Blue Mango was there last night for two different sites, each requiring a separate CUP. The Planning Commission handled them separately. The first will be at 65118 San Jacinto Lane; the second at 65265 San Jacinto Lane.

Cultivation Sites at April 12 2016 Planning Commission
This map shows all three cultivation sites that the Planning Commission addressed last night
. Here's a live map link.

The interior of 65118 is divided into 18 separate units which have been rented out to industrial tenants. The interior will be redone to create space for four large cultivation rooms and five smaller rooms for curing, processing, shipping, etc. Chair Romero encouraged them to removed the ficus and palm trees that decorate the street frontage, to be replaced with more drought tolerant plants.

65265 San Jacinto Lane will not require nearly as much work to re-arrange the interior. They'll keep most of the existing interior partitions and have two large, interconnected, double-deck growing rooms. The interior features a mezzanine from which, I imagine, one could gaze across the big spread of green leafy plants, as any farmer likes to do. They will also be cultivating up on the mezzanine.

Both sites were approved unanimously.

Vinyl Fencing

The single non-marijuana item the Planning Commission considered was a request to be permitted to erect vinyl fencing on top of existing "retaining walls" between new homes in the Gallery Vista Santa Fe homes at the northern end of Sonora Drive. The agenda packet describes them as "retaining walls," but it seems unlikely there would be an actual retaining wall between each house, unless they were built on a fairly steep hillside. Nevertheless, the fencing was proposed only between the newest homes (which I think are Coachella Valley Housing Coalition sweat equity homes). There would be no vinyl fencing facing the street.

The Planning Commission rejected the request.

permalink | April 13, 2016 at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2016

DHS Planning Commission - March 8, 2016

Box Score
Dispensaries approved: 3
Total dispensaries approved: 12
Dispensaries open: 5
Dispensaries denied: 1 (technically a continuation, but it's going to be denied)
Cultivation facilities approved: 1
____

Dirk Voss presiding at first, as Chair Cathy Romero was late, but Ms. Romero arrived before the Commission had even approved the agenda.

City Manager Magaña and Financial Director Tanner spoke at length about the budget and taxes. After years of underspending and cutbacks, whaddayaknow, there's a lot of critical stuff that's going to start failing. Like staff, even. And some taxes are going to expire. [My editorial: meanwhile the City Council (well, three of 'em) have voted not to even study new or revised taxes.] But I'll spare you the really bad news.

As with last month's report, just the marijuana:

Benno Pabst and Valley Compassionate Care

This is a proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary at 11522 Palm Drive, which is the southeast corner of 4th and Palm, the old chiropractor's office which is 1,207 square feet. Parking for 6 vehicles is proposed to be on the south side of the building (where there may also be a mural) with access via the alley. Four head-in parking spaces on 4th will be eliminated.

Commissioner Cirner recused himself due to a possible conflict of interest.

Benno Pabst was not present this night for health reasons, but his representative was there and spoke. Pabst owns the building outright.

There was a lot of discussion about the parking. Staff had first laid it out with diagonal parking so that patients would drive in from the alley and exit on Palm Drive. The Commission thought it would seem more sensible to drivers coming up Palm Drive to reversed that. Now, the thing I wonder about is left turns from southbound traffic. That entrance on Palm Drive is only 25 feet away from 4th Street.

Approved 4-0.

Yes, there will be two dispensaries directly across the street from each, so there will be no need to run across Palm Drive at night wearing dark clothes, right? And that ought to solve the problem of left turns too.


Lisa Lozano and Stephanie Bodde and Desert Hot Springs Dispensary

Another proposed CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary. This one was continued from last month. You may recall that potential neighbor Rose Mortuary raised objections about inadequate parking. There were other issues as well.

Proposed Location for Lisa Lozano and Stephanie Bodde and Desert Hot Springs Dispensary (0390

Chair Romero said that she could see all of the issues she had with this CUP had been addressed.

Thomas Moen, manager of Rose Mortuary, said he was concerned a dispensary could conflict with his business. Parking only in the street is still an issue.

Michelle and Michael Lally both expressed their support for medical marijuana generally, and spoke well of Stephanie Bodde. Mr. Lally also criticized Rose Mortuary, saying they both serve the same community, one in life and one in death.

David Lally (son of Michelle and Michael, if you hadn't guessed) talked about the tax benefits to the city. He described the personal experience with medical marijuana by a friend.

Jordan Bratonburg, owner of Rose Mortuary, also shared a personal experience in his family. He was concerned that some of his clientele would be offended by the proximity of the dispensary.

The applicant said that her security guard would not let her clients park in the Rose Mortuary parking lot.

Vice Chair Voss said that he, too, was concerned about the parking situation, especially the lack of a designated handicapped parking space. He also wanted to clarify what will happen with the small house in the rear of the property. He said this is the wrong location for a dispensary.

Commissioner De La Torre said he agreed with Mr. Voss.

Commissioner Terifaj said these were all the same issues brought up last month and that she, too, thought it was a poor location for the dispensary.

Rich Malacoff asked the Commissioners to specify which findings in the prepared CUP the Commission would determine had not been met. Then staff would use that information to craft a legal resolution of denial and bring it back next month. Staff prepared only the positive resolution of approval for the agenda packet, not wasting time on a negative just in case.

Ms. Terifaj cited the parking issue as the reason to deny.

The applicant came back to the podium to say that an elderly gentleman lives in the house in the rear and that he is a member of her collective. She does not want to kick him out so that she can tear down the house for parking. She was not aware of any problems with parking until this meeting. (It did come up as an issue the previous month, though.)

The Chair reopened the public hearing at the suggestion of the city attorney.

The applicant said she had an informal parking survey done at the Brown Dog dispensary which is east of Palm on Pierson. Over the course of a week there was only one time during the day when there were three cars there and the overlap was for only two minutes. In the evenings there would sometimes be as many as three cars there. She expects the same traffic at her dispensary. Street parking would handle that small amount.

Vice Chair Voss moved to continue this until next month at which time staff will have prepared the proper denial paperwork. Approved 5-0.


Eduardo Rivera and D.H.S. Alternative Healing Corporation

How about another CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary? This one is also continued from last month (and the month before that, IIRC). The continuance was to allow a neighbor to come in and comment on this. No changes have been made from last month. This one is going to be at 66328 Pierson Boulevard.

>Proposed Location For Eduardo Rivera and D.H.S. Alternative Healing Corporation (0388)

Unfortunately, the aggrieved neighbor did not show up. There were no public comments at all.

Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the additional requirement that there be no neon lighting. Approved 5-0.


Dino Sogoyan - Desert Hot Springs, Collective, Ltd.

This item is a CUP for a medical marijuana dispensary to be located at 66292 Pierson Boulevard. That's just to the east of Wiefels Mortuary.

66292 Pierson Boulevard (0326)

The monument sign in front of the building will have to be upgraded to meet current sign standards. The applicant is buying the property and said he plans to tear down that monument sign.

Commissioner Cirner moved to approve with the additional requirement that they come up with a different color scheme (and no neon). Approved 5-0.


Adrian Sedlin - Canndescent, MBC

This is for a CUP for a marijuana cultivation facility at 65334 Two Bunch Palms Trail, which is currently occupied by an auto repair business and tire recycling business. The two buildings are about 4,800 square feet each.

The applicant says he hopes to be operating by June 15.

Vice Chair Voss moved to approve with the addition of a ban on neon signs. Approved 5-0.


Other Things

The Planning Commission also approved a design review and development permit for a warehouse and retail facility for Angel View on Dillon Road.

They also appointed Andrew Cirner to the Arts District Committee.

permalink | March 13, 2016 at 09:47 AM | Comments (1)

March 2, 2016

The Current State Of Tecopa Hot Springs

I stopped in at Tecopa Hot Springs briefly on my way home from Death Valley yesterday. This is my first time visiting since the change in management. Things are much better now! Open 24 hours (yay!), only $7, the new personnel are VERY friendly and helpful, they put up a really nice new website, and they've moved their point-of-sale operations to the little kiosk that you walk through to get to the bathhouses where it was intended to be, not in the building 100 feet away.

Inside the bathhouses, everything was pretty much the same. They still have a nominal rule against bottles of water that most guys ignored. Also, irrelevant to the subject, last night everyone there was (half a dozen guys) white, old and anti-Trump.

permalink | March 2, 2016 at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2016

PG-Rated Site For Sex Toys

An Israeli rabbi has started a website that sells sex toys AND is acceptable to ultra-orthodox Jews. No nudity, no profanity.

Here's the site, BeBetter2gether. Besides toys it includes a good chunk of sex education too.

permalink | January 13, 2016 at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2015

Public Health Problem or Public Safety Problem?

Here's an opinion piece in the Washington Post comparing the battle against tobacco with the "war on drugs." The ban on TV and radio ads for tobacco began under the Nixon administration, as did the war on drugs. Tobacco was treated as a public health issue. Drugs were criminalized. The end result? Tobacco use has declined by a huge percentage, especially among children. Drugs? No change.

According to the Monitoring the Future report, daily use of marijuana by 12th-graders was at 6 percent in 1975; in 2014, it was 5.8 percent. The picture with heroin has shown similar stability. In 1975, 1 percent of 12th-graders had used heroin within the year. In 2000 that figure was 1.5 percent. In 2014 it was down to 0.6 percent, but it may be climbing again.

The war on drugs has done nothing except increase the costs of law enforcement and engendered a generalized disrespect for law enforcement...just as alcohol prohibition did.

permalink | December 30, 2015 at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2015

Health Inspector Knowledge

A traditional drug shop in Qunfudah, Saudi Arabia, was shut down when health inspectors discovered that the camel urine for sale was actually just the urine of the human proprietor. I'm left wondering what in the training of a health inspector gives him the ability to suspect camel urine is counterfeit? Color? Viscosity? Do they pick up a bottle and heft it? Do they open it and give it the smell test? It doesn't sound like they used a chemical test kit.

UPDATE: There's a little more info about drinking camel urine in this article.

permalink | December 20, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2015

The DHS Spa Tour Returns January 28

7th Annual Healing Waters Spa Tour Desert Hot Springs Hoteliers Thursday, January 28th, 2016 4:00 - 8:00 pm

Just a few miles north of the world renowned Palm Springs lies Desert Hot Springs; a small town with magical, healing waters. One of the few places in the world that has a dual aquifer - both hot and cold water come up from the earth containing healing minerals that you can both drink and beneficially soak in. The sparkling clear, curative mineral spring waters unearthed here have been nourishing bodies and minds since the early 1900s when they were first discovered by pioneer Cabot Yerxa.

Balneotherapy is the ancient art of immersing oneself in thermal mineral waters; utilizing the minerals in thermal springs to improve health and wellness primarily through soaking, steaming and inhalation. Minerals found in the DHS healing waters include Silica, Iron Oxide, Calcium, Aluminum Oxide Magnesium, Sodium, Sulfate, Chloride Bicarbonate, Fluoride and Sodium Chloride; minerals which balneotherapy enthusiasts believe help alleviate a number of ailments including arthritis, chronic skin diseases, urinary conditions, chronic metallic poisoning, burns (including sunburns), cardiovascular support, dandruff, dry skin and many other common ailments. The amount of time in the waters or the amount consumed to alleviate issues is more of an art than a science. Hippocrates was believed to be the first known to attribute curative healing powers to mineral springs.

There are over 20 exclusive spa resorts offering rich, healing, therapeutic, mineral spring water. A number of the spas have been multi-award winners for service, amenities and high standards.

There are many types of resorts to stay at, including a Moroccan fantasy, an old world hacienda, clothing optional, dog friendly, mid-century modern, and the 1940s Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa which is filled with rich history. From small four room hotels to big hotels with multiple pools; there is a hotel for every size, taste and budget. The experience you seek awaits you. The spa tour is the one night annually when the public can come into these very private boutique spas.

permalink | December 9, 2015 at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 8, 2015

Why Make Any Effort?

But for those who are housebound, this will be very helpful. Eaze is a service in California that will put you in live video contact with a marijuana doctor. Then, in the likely event that the doctor recommends marijuana, the site will offer you up some medicine which they will deliver to your door after you've made your selection. Available via smartphone too, of course. This seems to be making the barrier between the doctor and the dispensary as thin as possible; possibly too thin.

Eaze. Only $30 for the medical consultation! Hell, while you've got the doctor online you could ask him about any health complaints, not just the ones that are going to get medical marijuana for you. Save yourself a real doctor visit.

permalink | December 8, 2015 at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2015

Rockhaven Sanitarium

I went on a tour of Rockhaven Sanitarium for women in Glendale yesterday. It was founded by Agnes Richards, a nurse, in 1923 at a time when there were as many as 20 sanitariums in the area. It was operated by Agnes Richards until 1967, when she turned it over to her granddaughter Patricia Traviss who continued to operate it until 2001, when it was sold to a nursing home chain. Five years later it was closed when it became obvious that meeting ADA standards would be financially impossible. The City of Glendale bought it in 2008. Since then the city has done little with the site, not having the money to renovate it nor the will to just get rid of it.

It was a place for women with mild to moderate "nervous disorders," and featured none of the tortures that one would normally see in an insane asylum of that time. It's two most famous residents were Billie Burke and Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker, the mother of Marilyn Monroe.

The docents told of some spooky happenings at the place. A face seen behind a curtain that was pulled back from a window on the second floor of a building that was empty; small objects (a rosary, a valentine card, for example) simply appearing where it had never been before. The contents of the site were well documented when the city bought it. Even though old photos of the place show a piano, no piano is listed in the city's inventory. One day, when the docents opened the garage where they have stored statuary and other vulnerable items, there was the piano. I could believe the small things were pranks played by one of the docents, but the appearance of the piano is quite a stretch. How many ghosts does it take to move a piano?

An hour long video about Rockhaven.

The Crescenta Valley Water District is putting in a well on the site.

Gladys Pearl Monroe Baker's Escape Window (1784)
The closet window through which Marilyn Monroe's mother escaped using rope made from bed sheets
. She had a much larger window in her room that would have been much easier to go through. The drop from the closet window to the ground below was about 6 feet. IOW, she was a drama queen.

Handwashing (1698)
According to this illustration germs used to be much larger back in the 20th century
.

Patricia Traviss and Agnes Richards (1884)
Patricia Traviss and Agnes Richards

Rockhaven Sanitarium - Rose House (1493)
The Rose house
existed on the site before Richards created the sanitarium. She had it lifted and turned to face into the inner courtyard of the sanitarium.

Rockhaven Sanitarium - Rose House (1514)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1449)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1476)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1530)
A drinking fountain
.

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1542)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1584)
The walls are pink
.

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1572)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1587)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1596)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1630)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1638)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1645)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1658)
A Murphy bed
.

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1668)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1675)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1701)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1694)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1712)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1721)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1752)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1788)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1827)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1878)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1883)

Rockhaven Sanitarium (1902)

Step 3 Call 911 (1580)

The Lady Of Rockhaven (1897)
"The Lady of Rockhaven"
by Gladding, McBean.

Walk-In Cooler (1854)
The walk-in cooler which could obviously be converted easily into a sauna for small people
.

More of my photos from Rockhaven Sanitarium are here.

permalink | November 8, 2015 at 05:08 PM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2015

Possible Cause For Alzheimer's Identified

A just-published study in which they found fungal material in the brain and blood vessels of patients being treated for Alzheimer's. None of the individuals in the control group had fungal material in their brains. And the good news is "Moreover, antifungal treatment in two patients diagnosed with AD reversed clinical symptoms."

Further developments along this line should be very interesting!

permalink | October 16, 2015 at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2015

Summary of the new California Medical Marijuana Law

A summary of the changes legislated for the California medical marijuana industry:

  1. Every plant gets a unique identifier and is tracked from cultivation to sale to the patient.
  2. The biggest cultivation area permitted would be one acre, but that's outdoors. The biggest indoor cultivation license allows up to 22,000 square feet. That means a maximum of $265,000 in taxes for Desert Hot Springs (per year per cultivator), assuming there will be outdoor growing here. Cultivation sites must be at least 600 feet from any school.
  3. There will be two kinds of licenses for manufacturers; one for those who use non-volatile methods and one for those using volatile methods.
  4. Nobody gets to transport it except a licensed medical marijuana transporter. And that licensed medical marijuana transporter can have no other license in the marijuana business except for a distributor's license.
  5. All medical marijuana will first go to a licensed testing facility. A licensed tester can't have any interest in any other part of the medical marijuana business. "They will test for THC, TCHA, CBD, CBDA, terpenes, CBG, CBN, other compounds from the plant, and contaminants like residual solvents, pesticides, and chemicals." There are currently no accepted standards for testing, so California will have to establish them.
  6. All medical marijuana will go to a licensed distributor where there will be a quality assurance inspection. A distributor must also have a transporter license.
  7. Dispensaries may not acquire marijuana from an unlicensed grower (well, duh!). There will be two kinds of licenses for dispensaries; one for small storefront business and the other which will allow the holder to hold other licenses in order to vertically integrate. But even a fully vertically integrated operation has to send its marijuana first to a licensed tester and then get it back through a licensed distributor.
  8. Fully mobile dispensaries will not be permitted. "Fully mobile" meaning the whole business is operated out of a motor vehicle. Brick & mortar dispensaries will be allowed to deliver.
  9. Individual patients can grow up to 100 square feet, but may not sell any.
  10. Physicians who recommend medical marijuana can have no interests in the medical marijuana industry and they must actually see the patient and assess the patient's medical condition. Here's how that's written in the act itself:
    2525.2. A physician and surgeon shall not recommend medical cannabis to a patient, unless that person is the patient's attending physician, as defined by subdivision (a) of Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code.

    2525.3. Recommending medical cannabis to a patient for a medical purpose without an appropriate prior examination and a medical indication constitutes unprofessional conduct.


    Here's that definition of "attending physician"
    (a) "Attending physician" means an individual who possesses a license in good standing to practice medicine or osteopathy issued by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California and who has taken responsibility for an aspect of the medical care, treatment, diagnosis, counseling, or referral of a patient and who has conducted a medical examination of that patient before recording in the patient's medical record the physician's assessment of whether the patient has a serious medical condition and whether the medical use of marijuana is appropriate.

permalink | October 11, 2015 at 02:39 PM | Comments (2)

August 6, 2015

Chronic Marijuana Use = No Health Issues

A study published by the American Psychological Association shows no difference in health between chronic users of marijuana and those who have used little or no marijuana. The study followed 400 male adolescent pot smokers for 20 years. 22% of them were chronic smokers. Comparisons were made based on data gathered when the adolescents reached age 35.

Here is the report itself. Introductory paragraph:

Some evidence suggests that youth who use marijuana heavily during adolescence may be particularly prone to health problems in later adulthood (e.g., respiratory illnesses, psychotic symptoms). However, relatively few longitudinal studies have prospectively examined the long-term physical and mental health consequences associated with chronic adolescent marijuana use. The present study used data from a longitudinal sample of Black and White young men to determine whether different developmental patterns of marijuana use, assessed annually from early adolescence to the mid-20s, were associated with adverse physical (e.g., asthma, high blood pressure) and mental (e.g., psychosis, anxiety disorders) health outcomes in the mid-30s. Analyses also examined whether chronic marijuana use was more strongly associated with later health problems in Black men relative to White men. Findings from latent class growth curve analysis identified 4 distinct subgroups of marijuana users: early onset chronic users, late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, and low/nonusers. Results indicated that the 4 marijuana use trajectory groups were not significantly different in terms of their physical and mental health problems assessed in the mid-30s. The associations between marijuana group membership and later health problems did not vary significantly by race. Findings are discussed in the context of a larger body of work investigating the potential long-term health consequences of early onset chronic marijuana use, as well as the complications inherent in studying the possible link between marijuana use and health effects.

permalink | August 6, 2015 at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2015

Genuine New News About The Benefits Of Legal Marijuana

RAND Corporation and UC-Irvine teamed up on a study that showed in the 18 states where medical marijuana dispensaries are legal, there has been "a 16% reduction in 'opioid-related mortality' and 28% reduction in opioid-abuse treatment admissions."

"Opioids" are those legal poisonous painkillers that doctors prescribe. In 2013 they killed 16,000 people, accounting for 60% of all overdose deaths.

In states where medical marijuana is legal, but dispensaries are not, the rates of opioid-related mortality and opioid-abuse treatment admissions did NOT drop

permalink | July 18, 2015 at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2015

Medical Care At Burning Man This Year

Medical services have been provided at Burning Man for the past several years by staff from Humboldt General hospital in Winnemucca, and they seem to have done a good job. Which explains why the Burning Man organization dropped them this year in favor of an organization that has no experience with something like Burning Man. And by "something like Burning Man" we mean Burning Man. 'Cause Coachella sure doesn't count. The new contract went to CrowdRX, which has provided medical care at Coachella fest. But, just because they have no experience in isolated desert locations don't think they are stupid. They need to hire 120 people who are experienced at providing the full range of medical care while isolated in a desert setting in northern Nevada. Really. You get extra points for that, which means they will be hiring a lot of Humboldt General people - which makes me feel better.

An early hire is Dr. Jeff Westin who has been the associate medical director at Burning Man. This year he will be the medical director, and he's got a fabulous beard. The Reno Gazette Journal organized a live chat with him yesterday. Some of the interesting info he shared about medical care on the playa:

Working in a standard emergency department on a daily basis, I get a lot of people demanding pain medications or antibiotics for complaints that probably require neither, complaining that they are not seen fast enough for their toe pain when I am trying to take care of someone with cardiac arrest, and rarely a thank you. However, working at Burning Man, I consistently experienced patients who were extremely grateful for their care, were very understanding of medical care priorities, and almost never requested pain medication or things that weren't medically appropriate. For this reason, I like to refer to medicine in the medical tent at Burning Man as "ideal medicine."

Jokes about there being no need to go to a clinic to get pain meds at Burning Man will not be chuckled at.

We have had many serious injuries on playa, ranging from aortic dissection (a tearing apart of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body) to subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding inside someone’s head) to tracheal transection (someone airway got crushed). Fortunately, we are well equipped to handle these types of situations until the patients can be transferred to a higher level of care.
Although many people think of Burning Man primarily as a recreational drug event, there is actually much more to the event, and it is less common than you might think to see recreational drug issues in the tent. They are generally a small proportion of the patients, but they can tend to occupy a lot of time if they are having a bad trip or it is causing them to be confused or aggressive.
We have more equipment than the standard event medical tent, because of our remote location. X-ray, ultrasound, and point-of-care lab tests are equipment that is used on playa in order to expand our capabilities and keep more burners on playa, avoiding having to send out too many people to local hospitals. Because of this advanced level of equipment and the high level of training of the providers, last year we only had to send 22 people off playa to be treated at local hospitals, and that number will likely be very similar this year.
Most of the time, there is no medical bill if you are treated in the tent. Your medical care is included in the cost of your ticket and like most other things on playa, we do not take any money. In the case of a person having to be transported off playa, the cost of the transport and any medical care provided at local hospitals is the responsibility of the patient, but anyone staying on playa does not receive a bill. IF any medication is prescribed, the patients will receive a short course to start their treatment while they are on playa, but they may be required to purchase additional medications off playa if their medical condition requires extended treatment.

The boils down to the mandatory purchase of insurance which covers you 100% as long as you stay within the city limits of Black Rock City, which must mean they are socialists - or capitalists - or something else we can object to.

permalink | May 29, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2015

The Hoosiers Again

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that this has happened in a state that has recently demonstrated its ignorance so gloriously to the world. There has been a big outbreak of HIV infections in Scott County, Indiana; 106 new infections since December. "The spread of the virus...has been linked to the use of contaminated syringes and the painkiller Opana in the area." Needle exchanges are not legal in Indiana, but the Governor has authorized a short-term needle exchange. 437 dirty syringes were turned in.

permalink | April 11, 2015 at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)