Buzz Bissinger, the writer whose book inspired hit TV show Friday Night Lights, has come out of the closet about a shopping addiction that cost him more than $587,000 over the course of three years. “I own 81 leather jackets, 75 pairs of boots, 41 pairs of leather pants, 32 pairs of haute couture jeans, 10 evening jackets, and 115 pairs of leather gloves,” he reveals in a reflective essay for GQ. His purchases include a $22,000 jacket and $5,000 pants, and Gucci even awarded him an all-expenses-paid trip to Milan's Fashion Week for his excessive patronage. Buzzinger says that his out-of-control spending habits evolved out of his growing need for validation and pleasure. “There was a time earlier in my life when I loved to write, the same feeling of orgasm that I now get with clothing,” he writes. “But in my mid-fifties the words were harder to find, the excuses to [fuck] around more pronounced, the anxiety multiplied that whatever I was working on would never reach the dizzying heights of 'Friday Night Lights.'" He tells NBC that he wrote the essay in order to help others who are coping with addiction and the “damage that can be done by denying who you are.” Disclosing the issue to the public, he adds, “was the only way I knew of coming to terms and getting the help I am now getting.” Since publishing the essay, Bissinger has checked into rehab for undisclosed reasons.
Sometimes a night of hard drinking can lead to some less-than-savory decisions about who—or what—you bring home. This was the case for Dwayne Matthews, of England, who drunkenly purchased a stolen 10-foot python during a night of hard drinking back in January. Matthews first became aware of the illicit purchase the following morning, after waking up to find the creature attempting to "eat" him and his friend. It was eventually revealed that during the prior evening's debauchery, he had purchased the recently kidnapped African rock snake from a stranger. “In his wisdom, and no doubt egged on by his inebriated friends, he decided it would be a good idea to buy it and sell it,” says Matthews' attorney. “The next morning he realized it hadn’t been such a good idea.” Matthews reportedly was able to trap the python, named Bruce, in a duvet, and stuffed him in a bin before he could do any damage. “It was like a sub-plot from a Guy Ritchie film,” says his attorney. Bruce's original owners had contacted the police about his disappearance, leading to Matthews' arrest after he attempted to pawn off the python at a local pet store. A judge has sentenced Matthews to eight weeks prison and a £1565.00 ($2300.00 USD) fine, saying: “This was a bit of a foolhardy enterprise.” Bruce has since been returned safely to his original owners.
Although Border Patrol may project a different picture, American citizens are now dominating the Mexico-US drug mule market, The Daily Beast reports. Three out of four people found with drugs by the border agency are US citizens and 80% of busts (which may include multiple people) involve at least one US citizen, according to records obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Although the Obama administration has seized more drugs than ever and posted the two biggest years on record for pot seizures, the number of immigrants illegally crossing the US-Mexico border is at its lowest level in decades. Alonzo Peña, former deputy director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says illegal immigrants have been scapegoated in American media as the primary drug runners—but the reality is different. “After 9/11, the immigrant, terrorist, and criminal and the threat to national security have all been lumped together,” says Peña, "We're not distinguishing very well who is who." The number of US citizens caught at the border with drugs has tripled between 2005 and 2011 and increased each year except for a slight drop in 2011. However, of the 2,000 press reports released during this time from the Border Patrol and its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, 38% mentioned a Mexican national (including a drug-trafficking suspect). Only 30% mentioned Americans, even though numbers show they are involved in a much higher percentage of the busts.
American drug mules may be increasingly drawn to the job out of economic desperation. “With the economic downturn, you just have pools of people out of work,” says Tucson, Arizona defense attorney Jeffrey Bartolino. “The great majority that are caught with 100 kilos or 150 kilos in a car or truck are people that are hired that day or the week before and they needed money.” Around the border, he says, “drug trafficking is such a normal activity that people are so desensitized to it...It’s part of the way of life...It’s very, very easy.” Law-enforcement officials and former drug mules say Mexican drug traffickers may recruit US citizens, thinking will be less suspect by police. Traffickers have also shifted tactics—reducing the size of their drug loads, which means higher frequency of smuggling attempts, and a need for more drivers, including US citizens. “They know the language. They know the culture. They know the routes,” says Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rusty Fleming. “And the traffickers have learned the art of breaking down the risk.”
Passover began yesterday at sundown, but observant Jewish smokers no longer have to pass on cigarettes for the duration of the holy week. The Beit Yosef private rabbinic group determine what foods are compliant with Jewish dietary restrictions, and for the first time, the list of items deemed kosher for Passover includes three brands of cigarettes. The annual Jewish holiday commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt; throughout the week, observant Jews do not eat pasta or leavened bread to pay homage to their ancestors, who were forced to flee Egypt before the bread had time to rise. During the holiday, Jewish law also forbids consumption of chametz—anything consisting of grains that may have come in contact with water, starting the process of fermentation. Ben Ezra, a Kosher supervisor for Beit Yosef, inspected the factor that produces Noblesse, Time and Golf cigarettes, and concluded that the products are kosher for smoking on Passover—as long as the factory's ingredients had not come in contact with leavened products. Still, not every Passover abiding Jew is thrilled with the decision. “Poison is not kosher," says Ziv Moar, Beit Yosef's chief rabbinate’s spokesman, "For all days of the year, not just Passover."
Video games and the Internet can be just as addictive as drugs, and compulsive use may cover up learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety in kids, experts say. Video games containing violence may be particularly addictive, triggering "the same pleasure centers in the brain that make people want to come back," says Dr. Michael Fraser, a New York clinical psychologist and professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Kimberly Young, a psychologist and founder of the Center for Online and Internet Addiction in Bradford, Penn, adds that Internet addiction actually shows the "exact same pattern of behavior” as alcoholism. Children are the most vulnerable to video game addiction and many have the tendency to become violent if denied their fix. "Kids can become physically and verbally abusive," says Fraser, "Most parents have trouble imagining this—that their 12-year-old boy would push his mother when she tries to unplug the game." Fraser says video game addiction usually points to other mental problems such as depression, anxiety, and difficulties forming relationships, and kids often use these games as way to escape other mental health issues. “When it comes time to bear down and concentrate, rather than work through that frustration they escape into gaming, like a drug," he says. There is still no formal diagnosis for video game addiction, but a variety of internet-related psychological disorders will be mentioned for the first time in the DSM-5 later this year. Fraser says that monitoring children's usage of the web is key: "If you put an iPad in a 6-year-old’s hands, that’s no different than sending them into an R-rated movie theater unsupervised.”
- Medical marijuana Goes Even More Corporate [Forbes]
- One in Five French Bottled Waters 'Contain Drugs or Pesticides' [Guardian]
- Daughter of Former New York Post Owner Arrested in Attempted Heroin Sale [NY Daily News]
- In Suing Clinic Over Drugs, US Baseball May Be Targeting Players [Reuters]
- Michael Bublé: I've Never Written Songs Sober [3News]
- Twitter Account Collects Drunk Photos Of UNH Students [CBS]
- Farrah Abraham Jokes About Her DUI Arrest [US Magazine]