Drugs, Pain, and Marijuana: My wife’s journey

Around the turn of the century, Heidi Hooper (my wife of thirty some years) had a cancerous tumor growing in her arm and didn’t know it. She thought it was just a muscle spasm. Since we had no medical insurance at the time, we didn’t go to see a doctor until it was too late.

Dozens of operations and radiation treatments later, she ended up with her upper arm removed completely and a muscle from her back spliced into her arm solely as protection for the bone. (Fortunately, we had health insurance by then.) She has no feeling in that spot, and is in constant pain.

After the operation, the doctor had her on oxycodone for the pain because, you know, that’s what doctors do. When Heidi complained that they weren’t working after a while, he explained to her that your body becomes addicted to these things and needs more, because your body stops fighting the pain on  your own. That scared Heidi so much, she went cold turkey. There were many sleepless nights with sweats and pain as she forced her body to adjust. The doctor then placed her on gabapentin, a less harsh painkiller which worked well enough.

I love this picture of Heidi with Mel Brooks when Heidi was a guest on ABC TV’s “To Tell the Truth”

Her arm had developed lymphedema since she has no lymph nodes, and it would get inflamed and send her to the hospital a few times a year. Finally, the insurance company agreed to give her a machine that would massage the liquids in her arm to keep them from building up and causing the infections.

In the meantime, the body adjusted to the gabapentin and each few years, she would need the dosage to be upped.

Last year, the lympehdema machine finally broke down, having lasted longer than originally guaranteed.  The insurance company took months to replace it, and perhaps because of that, Heidi ended up in the hospital four times and her arm progressed to stage two lymphedema. She now has to get into that stupid machine three times a day for an hour each time.

However, there is good news.

Medical marijuana became available in Pennsylvania. I had previously written about my skepticism of this so-called wonder drug, but thought it was at least worth checking out. We finally found a doctor willing to prescribe it down in Allentown (about 45 minutes away) who, coincidentally enough, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University the same year we did (although from the medical college there). He gave her marinol pills and if the pain was really bad, she could use a vape (which she hates because of the smoke). Pennsylvania now also has the liquid drops which she prefers.  She takes enough to kill the pain and doesn’t get high from it.

She slowly reduced her gabapentin dosages and went through a month of feeling like she had the constant flu. After a while, she was only on the medical marijuana, and what a difference.  As I wrote before, it was a huge change for her. The pain was much less, and more importantly, her mind was not clouded by the gabapentin. She used to complain about not remembering things and losing her train of thought, and now, finally, I can have long conversations with her for the first time in twenty years.  “All the friends I made over the past twenty years must think I’m an airhead,” she worried to me recently.

But here’s the best news:

For the last few weeks, she has felt absolutely great. She has not needed the vape or the drops at all. She says she hasn’t felt that good since before the operations.

I emailed the doctor to ask him about it, and here’s what he replied:  “I would certainly bet on the Gabapentin.  I think this is one of the worst drugs ever perpetrated on the public.  The fact that Heidi continues to do better and better by your account and every time I have seen her would dovetail with the continued absence of this drug and the longstanding side effects.  That is just unbelievable news and I am just thrilled beyond anything you can imagine.”

So here’s another affirmation of the dangers of all these drugs Big Pharma throws at you while fighting against legalizing a drug that actually works much much better. And let’s hear it for Heidi!

(Plug:  If you want to support Heidi and encourage her after all she’s been through, why not become a patron of her art? Even a dollar a month means a lot to her!)


This is 3 feet by 4 feet and made entirely out of dryer lint


It’s election day

i suppressed

Clay Bennett

Avengers Impeach!


Ruben Bolling

How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative

My book “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative,” from Gray Rabbit Publications, is due in August.  The Advance Reading Copy is now available. The cover will look better, but the cover illustration will remain the same. There are certain to be a few typos (such as my name being misspelled on the cover) that will be corrected by the final version. That’s how it works in the publishing world…constitution

If you have a political blog, radio show, podcast, or other media profile and would like to do a review or an interview with me or illustrator Darrin Bell, please contact me.

Here’s the press release that the publisher has sent out:

Book Launch:
How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative:
A Liberal’s Humorous Guide to Demystifying the Laws of our Nation

With illustrations by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Darrin Bell, criminal defense attorney and author Michael A. Ventrella helps Liberals better understand the Constitution to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations… and outright lies.

May 1, 2019 — Immigrants have no rights! The press is the enemy of the people! Unlimited guns are my birthright!

These are just a handful of arguments being shouted by vocal Conservatives in the age of Donald Trump… even though the Constitution of the United States—the very laws of our nation—says something quite different.

But if Liberals are going to counter these erroneous, angry, ill-informed positions with facts, they need to learn those laws themselves. And it’s amazing how many don’t know what they are.

To remedy this knowledge gap, criminal defense attorney, and unabashed Liberal Michael A. Ventrella has written How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, a humorous, satirical look at the very document that defines our country.

As a practicing attorney for 30 years, Ventrella hopes readers will come away with a far better understanding of the Constitution, and use this critical knowledge to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations, and outright lies being used to undermine the fabric of our country. And to correct their own misunderstandings of the Constitution.

As Ventrella says, the book is “a sort of Constitution for Dummies with jokes and arguments to raise the level of conversation and debate, where we discuss the actual laws of our nation and how they are applied, rather than engage in more heated arguments based on rumor, emotion, and a distortion of the facts. I also want you to have fun.”

How to Argue… will include cover art and more than 40 illustrations by 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Candorville.

Michael A. Ventrella’s other books include the forthcoming alternative Beatles anthology Across the Universe, which he is co-editing, Release the Virgins, which he edited for Fantastic Books in 2018, and Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees’ Songs, One by One.

Gray Rabbit Publications is honored to be publishing How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, hopefully adding to this important, reasoned discussion… with a light touch.

How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative
by Michael A. Ventrella, illustrated by Darrin Bell
August 20, 2019
simultaneous case laminate hardcover and trade paperback publication
hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5154-2397-3. 164 pages, $24.99.
trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-5154-2377-5. 164 pages, $13.99.

Gray Rabbit is the non-fiction imprint of Gray Rabbit Publications, LLC, which also publishes speculative fiction under its Fantastic Books imprint. All Gray Rabbit and Fantastic Books titles are distributed via Ingram, and available through all online booksellers and by special order through physical bookstores. Review copies are available upon request.

Whiners and Losers


Mike Peters

Why it’s okay to discriminate against Trump supporters

“I’m being discriminated against!” MAGA-hat-wearing Trump supporters claim, as people refuse to serve them or treat them with respect.

  1. It’s not discrimination
  2. They’re complete hypocrites
  3. Suck it up, losershate hat

It’s not discrimination. As Frank Zappa once said, “It’s okay to discriminate against assholes, because nobody was born an asshole.” And that’s why treating these people terribly is not discrimination — they chose to have this position. They made a conscious choice not only to support Trump but to do so publicly and in everyone’s face.

If you wear that hat, to many loyal Americans, it means that you support:

  1. A corrupt and criminal President whose personal lawyer, campaign manager, top campaign aide, top campaign adviser, national security adviser, and political adviser are either in jail or under indictment — and so would Trump be if he were not President;
  2. An administration filled with people who are either incompetent or corrupt;
  3. A President who alienates our allies while cozying up to our enemies;
  4. A President who has the support of the Klan and Nazis and who says some of them are “good people”;
  5. Separating innocent children from their parents and locking them in cages;
  6. Taking people who are legally applying for refugee status and treating them like criminals;
  7. Discrimination against gays and lesbians;
  8. Discrimination against transgendered;
  9. Discrimination against Muslims;
  10. Taking health care away from Americans;
  11. And Jesus, I could go on and on …

The point is that you chose to support this stuff. If you walk into my establishment with that hat, you may as well come in yelling “Jews will not replace us” like the Charlottesville protesters did. You may as well be carrying a Confederate Flag, have a Nazi armband, and a Klan hood on.

Damn right I don’t want to serve you. You’re an enemy of our country.

Even if you don’t support all of that stuff, then it’s clearly minor enough to you that you don’t care — which is just as bad. You don’t want to be associated with these haters? Then stop wearing their logo.

They’re complete hypocrites. These are the same people who think it’s perfectly fine to discriminate for things people have no control over (such as being gay) but when it happens to them, they think they’re being discriminated against.

Some right-wing haters have recently been kicked off Facebook because they violated Facebook’s terms, and of course, they’re all screaming that their 1st Amendment rights were violated (they weren’t). These are the exact same people who argue with a straight face that businesses should have the “freedom” to decide who to serve.

These sensitive snowflakes can dish it out, but they just can’t take it.

Suck it up, losers. You lost the election. Most Americans specifically voted against you. At the last election, most Americans voted for Democrats to replace you. Most Americans can’t stand you. Trump’s highest poll numbers are still below Obama’s lowest poll numbers.

Not only that, you Nazis and you Confederates lost your wars. You’re on the side of the Bad Guys, and that’s not a subjective standard. Your bigoted viewpoints are losing viewpoints that will be erased by history.

Sorry you don’t have a “safe space” you can hide in. Parade your hatred elsewhere; you’re not welcome here.

No shoes, no shirt, no service … and no assholes.

EDIT: This article was written after some MAGA-hat wearers were complaining that they were being harassed as they walked down the street. That’s the kind of discrimination I was thinking of. Discrimination in employment or in being served at a store is different, and would take quite a bit more time to explain.



New standards


Mike Peters