Crick Trips Ballz, Wins Nobel Prize

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Francis Crick discovered the double helix while tripping on LSD, Sigmund Freud thought up psychoanalysis with a nose full of coke, Dock Ellis pitched a perfect no-hitter after ingesting acid, and Moses, well, Moses loved him some 'shrooms. Cracked.com has the 411 on each person, including reasons why potential new users should think twice before ingesting a fistful of blow or gumming down a sheet of RC (that's what we youngsters take in place of LSD). My favorite excerpt:

Ellis remembers very little about the game, other than that sometimes the ball was huge in his hands and sometimes it was tiny, and that at one point he dove out of the way of a line drive, only to look up and see that the ball hadn't even reached the mound. If this sounds like a ridiculous cartoon to you, that's probably what it looked like to Ellis. So how the fuck did Ellis manage to pitch a better game than Pedro Martinez ever would?

Two different narratives emerge when these secret histories are juxtaposed with conventional school-room biographies: the disciplined athlete becomes the drug-addled natural; the diligent scholars turn into freewheeling geniuses; God's Chosen People sound like delusional nomads. I, for one, appreciate any and all evidence that addiction and/or recreational consumption can supplement my already-unequaled brilliance.

But what motivates teachers and professors to omit these facets of a historical figure's character? Some flashy lights and sounds would have redeemed the many hours I spent reading/watching/ sleeping through Power Point slides on Crick and Watson. And as an amphetamine abuser, I would have paid much closer attention to the psy101 section on Freud had I known he snorted his breakfast.

I feel slightly less betrayed after reading this article than I did when my (very conservative) high school senior English teacher denied that Walt Whitman was into dudes; but not quite as disappointed as when one of the fictional teachers on the turn-of-the-millennium pedagogical phenomenon Boston Public claimed, "Hemingway was a great writer in spite of his alcoholism, not because of it."

NEXT: Reason Writers Around Town: Katherine Mangu-Ward on "Scared Straight" Drunk Driving Prevention

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  1. As an adtlt trying semi-regular use for the first time in recent months, I’ve been very pleasd wiht my recent experiments with marijuana. The only doenwside I have noticed is slightly more typos than befoire.

  2. What happened to all the LSD?

    WTF are you getting when you take an RC?

  3. Decades ago, like three of em, I played chess on acid a time or two.

  4. To be fair God’s Chosen People are delusional nomads.

    And Freud was far from being a genius.

  5. And Freud was far from being a genius.

    Er, what? Just because you disagree with him, or even if he is objectively wrong, does not make him *not a genius*.

    Genius is generally separated from mere intelligence by originality and innovation. Freud’s insights, while somewhat overlapping with Nietzsche and Jung (themselves *geniuses*), are sufficiently novel to get the label “innovative”, IMO.

  6. Firefox cures marijuana’s typos. 😉

  7. Elemenope,

    Freud can’t be a genius. He oppressed the wimminz.

  8. Decades ago, like three of em, I played chess on acid a time or two.

    I am unbeatable when playing chess baked. I become a computer, analyzing every possible move many moves into the future, laying ambushes, and finally knowing several moves ahead of the end that I have already won. It’s kind of creepy.

  9. I would clarify that I am unbeatable by normal people; I’m not implying I could beat Bobby Fischer or something.

  10. There are 2 distinct athletic events.

    A Perfect Game, is one in which the pitcher completes a game with the minimumim 27 batters ever coming up.

    A No-Hitter is a game in which a pitcher throws a complete game and doesn’t allow a base-hit. He can, however, allow walks. So the number of batters he faces can exceed 27.

    There is no such thing as a Perfect No Hitter.

    As for Pedro, while he technically thrown a no-hitter. He did throw 9 innings of no-hit ball. Unfortunately his team also failed to score so the game went into extra innings. In the 10th he gave up a hit. If his teammates in Montral had scored at least 1 run, then he would also be offically credited with a no-hitter as the game would have been over after 9.

  11. Kary Mullis, who is given (or who takes) the lion’s share of the credit for the invention of PCR (polymerase chain reaction, a DNA amplification technique) and who was given the Nobel Prize for same, is an admitted user of LSD.

    Kekule, who reportedly was a user of laudanum, allegedly gained insight into the structure of benzene during a laudanum-induced fever dream.

  12. I barely know my own name when I’m baked. However, I know people who play awesome tennis while stoned…

  13. Just because some smart people did drugs doesn’t mean that drugs make you smart. I can come up with a large list of people I know who did drugs and are total failures. Genius is 99 percent hard work, 1 percent inspiration.

    Non-authoritarian anti-drug propaganda here.

    That being said, the best way to be a genius is to get rich and buy other people’s ideas.

  14. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree :
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.

    “Aw fuck, is that the door?”

  15. “supplement my already-unequaled brilliance”

    Alright, Bring it down!

  16. Any idea what joe is on any given day

  17. Joe doesn’t take drugs any given day. That’s what makes him the Joe we know and love.

  18. I hope you’re not seriously suggesting that we take Cracked as a source these days. For instance, the theory about Moses and drugs was pure speculation when it came out a few years back, and now you’re quoting a humor web site for authority about it, which is linking to research which was shaky, speculative, and completely in dispute when it came out. If you’re trying to be funny with this whole item, well, it didn’t come across as funny. And if you’re trying to be serious, it really hurts the credibility of your point when you’re using cracked.com as your source.

    And I happen to agree with your basic position on the legality of drugs. Imagine how absurd it would look at those who don’t agree: “Hey, look. Those idiots have to quote a knockoff of Mad magazine to make their ignorant points.”

  19. [quote]Just because some smart people did drugs doesn’t mean that drugs make you smart. [/quote]

    i don’t think anyone is claiming this, actually.

  20. Additionally, I can’t give credit to any of these stories of marijuana induced athletic endeavors. When I’m high I just go into laughing fits for one reason or another and become useless.

  21. At first glance, I thought the title read: “Crispy Ballz Wins Nobel Prize”…

  22. I guess we know where rana’s mind is at.

  23. My college Jazz Ensemble was widely recognized. Nearly all members were stoners (including the director). Typically, stoned for practice, generally more sober for concerts and recordings, and more stoned (and usually drinking) when out doing the free gigs that served as live concert dress rehearsals. Dress rehearsals almost always our loosest (and therefore tightest) performances.

  24. Are there really significant amounts of “RC”s circulating on blotters?

    Or is it just a unrefined synthesis, like when I was a young’n and people would say LSD had a lot of strychnine in it

  25. Are there really significant amounts of “RC”s circulating on blotters?

    No; most of them have dosage ranges two or three orders of magnitude larger than LSD, so you can’t fit enough on a square of blotter.

  26. I can come up with a large list of people I know who did drugs and are total failures.

    I can supplement your list with the one of people who didn’t do illegal drugs and are total failures, and the one of people who did illegal drugs and aren’t total failures.

    Of course, I just found out someone is alleging in court that I use drugs and engage in risky behavior. I’m slightly peevish about drug use today as I may have to file a libel suit.

  27. I really drive much better when I’m drunk, stoned, and hopped up on horse tranquilizers.

  28. Drugs are bad, Mkay?

  29. Just because some smart people did drugs doesn’t mean that drugs make you smart.

    I don’t think that’s being argued.

    Since the arguments against drugs are largely based on the supposed consequences of drug use, every instance of successful or important work being performed after drug use undermines those arguments pretty conclusively.

    And instances where it can be intuited that drugs may have played a contributory role to a given insight or accomplishment are particularly persuasive in that regard.

    It’s not necessary to prove that drugs make you smart. It’s only necessary to prove that drugs don’t automatically make you stupid, and that sometimes if you’re already smart drugs can help you succeed by helping you with unconventional inspiration or insight, or even just by relaxing you [which is probably what the no-hitter was all about].

    And in some cases “smart” is not really what is required. Consider the Hemingway quote. It’s impossible to separate Hemingway’s technical talent from his inspiration or overall themes. Maybe getting sober would have helped Hemingway’s technical talent [his ability to employ the language in his particular style] or increased his output by giving him a greater number of productive hours in which to work. But if getting sober changed Hemingway’s outlook on life, the themes, images and viewpoint expressed in the novels would almost certainly have been completely different, and, we must assume, not as good. Picture how people change when they enter AA, and then apply that change to Hemingway’s writing: you aren’t left with a lot left reading.

  30. “””My college Jazz Ensemble was widely recognized. Nearly all members were stoners.””

    Smoking a stick of tea, as Gene Krupa called it.

  31. John Belushi – cocaine = Jim Belushi

  32. Warren wins with a buzzer-beater!

  33. But if getting sober changed Hemingway’s outlook on life, the themes, images and viewpoint expressed in the novels would almost certainly have been completely different, and, we must assume, not as good.

    We don’t have any way of knowing that Hemingway’s books would have been any better or worse if he never got drunk once in his life. I just don’t believe that drugs aid inspiration any more than reading a list of uplifting quotes or fortune cookies. I also don’t like this idea that creativity and technical ability are entirely different animals.

    If you want to engineer a new mousetrap, you should study previous designs first, and then less-relevant topics like laser beams and microbiology. If you decide to go to beauty school in the hope that it will inspire you to build a new mouse trap, you are crazy. Microbiology is far more likely to result in you building that better mousetrap than beauty school ever will be. I don’t see how this is any different than saying that taking LCD (beauty school) is not going to help you build a better mousetrap.

  34. I think Junter might be drunk.

  35. I just don’t believe that drugs aid inspiration any more than reading a list of uplifting quotes or fortune cookies. I also don’t like this idea that creativity and technical ability are entirely different animals.

    I am not familiar enough with all of Hemingway’s work to use him as a good example, so I’ll shift to one of his contemporaries to better illustrate what I mean.

    Let’s consider the case of Fitzgerald instead.

    Fitzgerald’s life was unquestionably marred by drinking. Had he never gotten drunk, he would unquestionably had more hours to devote to writing, would have thought more clearly, would have probably been able to complete more work at novel length, would have lived longer, etc.

    So you can argue that not drinking would have helped Fitzgerald’s work.

    But here’s the problem: I find it impossible to imagine the content of the works of a Fitzgerald who did not drink. Fitzgerald’s work is best when it’s dealing with a handful of themes, most of which have to do with failure: the failure of young love [This Side of Paradise and a shitload of the short fiction], the failure of the romantic vision and of hope [The Great Gatsby], the squandering of promise and talent [Tender is the Night], the dissipation of youth and good fortune through hedonism and [coincidentally] drink [The Beautiful and Damned], and the undermining of mature talent by nostalgia for the past [The Last Tycoon]. It’s inconceivable to me that a sober Fitzgerald would have produced any of these works, almost all of which contain semi-autobiographical material and all of which are informed by an artistic vision it’s impossible to separate from the man’s life as a drunk.

    It’s like the Kurt-Cobain-style character in that “Kids in the Hall” movie Brain Candy. If you subtract the drugs and depression from a Kurt Cobainesque figure, he might still be a musician, but he might be a twee musician. And it doesn’t matter how well that guy “builds a mousetrap”, because twee sucks. A sober Hemingway or Fitzgerald might have spent their time writing Deepak Chopra style self-help books, for all we know. A happy and sober Fitzgerald, at least, would not have written Gatsby, and we’d be rolling the dice on what he would have produced in lieu of that.

  36. I think Junter might be drunk.

    If that’s the case, what can we assume about the quality of his posts were he sober? I think his technical ability and his inspiration might suffer.

  37. Yes, getting drunk does let you do things you would otherwise be very unlikely to be able to do (In theory, a sober Fitzgerald could have written all those books by randomly hitting keys on a typewriter, assuming they had them back then). But getting drunk would only unlock those things that are directly related to getting drunk. Fitzgerald didn’t write stories about forbidden love among Bedouin nomads, but if he had spent a few years in the West Desert, perhaps that would have been his bestseller. Yet I don’t see anyone claiming that living among the nomads is a good way to increase your creativity. But you’re claiming that about alcohol. I just don’t see how getting drunk will help you do something unrelated to getting drunk any more than getting a haircut would. And we can argue about this all day, but until we get some data I don’t think I’m going to change my mind.

    Also, I am not drunk, only drunk with power!! An dam as so mad…. kijya. … ? No, I’m only A) A nuisance B) Nothing special C) Just Crazy or R) At least not as bad as Jim McDish.

  38. i’ve never believed the doc ellis story. the no-hitter was in 1970, and he didn’t come out publicly with the acid story until 1984. and his personality was not one that would lend any credibility to the story. there are some people, after all, who just like to make up big whopping lies. there are factual problems with the story too. for example, there is no drug that physically allows a human being to dive to the ground faster than a line drive can travel sixty feet, six inches. i know it was 38 years ago and it’s impossible to prove or disprove, but i’d love to see some corroborating evidence before i believe it.

  39. “And Freud was far from being a genius.”

    Most of Freud’s theories have been disproven now, but he was the first ever to approach the human mind as something that could be studied and explained, that warrants some credit.

    “As an adtlt trying semi-regular use for the first time in recent months, I’ve been very pleasd wiht my recent experiments with marijuana. The only doenwside I have noticed is slightly more typos than befoire.”

    I see what you did there.

  40. I’m not implying I could beat Bobby Fischer or something.

    You could probably beat him now.

    Too soon?

  41. “What happened to all the LSD?”

    My three best friends and I ate half of it.

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