Friday, January 30, 2009

Wacky Dust

According to Wikipedia:

When the Spaniards conquered South America, they at first ignored aboriginal claims that the coca leaf gave them strength and energy, and declared the practice of chewing it the work of The Devil. But after discovering that these claims were true, they legalized and taxed the leaf, taking 10% off the value of each crop. In 1569, Nicolás Monardes described the practice of the natives of chewing a mixture of tobacco and coca leaves to induce "great contentment".

The opium poppy was cultivated in lower Mesopotamia as long ago as 3400 BC.[4] The chemical analysis of opium in the 19th century revealed that most of its activity could be ascribed to two ingredients, codeine and morphine. The Bayer pharmaceutical company would name the substance "heroin", probably from the word heroisch, German for heroic, because in field studies people using the medicine felt "heroic". From 1898 through to 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant. As with aspirin, Bayer lost some of its trademark rights to heroin under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles following the German defeat in World War I.

But Heavens to Betsy, Birdy, why on Earth would anyone mess with dangerous illicit drugs when Dry Tobacco Snuff is perfectly legal, healthier for you, and supports the hard-workin' farmin' man?

Listen: Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald - Wacky Dust (1938)

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