I swear, I went to art school with these people.  Except no art boys would bare their chests in that Saturday Night Fever sort of way.  Mmmmm....Learn to recognize the symptoms: creativity, unique fashion sense, never have money, and always vote for Nader (Green Party, baby, yeah!).

This painting is "An Apple a Day" by Dean Valadez.  Someone needs to tell these twins that sharing needles spreads all sorts of icky things, like AIDS and hepatitis.

And this guy says, "Come here, little girl, and party with me".  Have you ever seen such a thing?  The black light mural is enough in itself, who needs a hit from the super bong - can you even imagine (I bet you are right now).


     So let's start with alcohol, shall we?  I must admit, I went through a period in which I drank a bottle of vodka a week.  Not the small bottle, folks, but the grande size.  I did this because vodka didn't give me retched hang-overs and the entire year was shitty, I had to numb myself with Russian poison every night.  Thankfully, that period of my life has ended (one year - and I think I killed some important brain cells) and I only drink occasionally, maybe a glass of wine here or there.  I am aware of the allure of this drug.

Our government makes alcohol legal.  While I enjoy this freedom, it makes me wonder why this was chosen over other drugs.  The FDA has strong regulations on what medicines can be sold over the counter; it would be safe to say that a large percentage of prescription drugs cause less harm than alcohol, but require a doctor's word to have you ingest it.

Alcohol does not come with instructions.  If there is any sort of warning, it is in the fine print and ignored as you drink up.  A law stating that individuals must be 21 or over to drink alcohol only seems to exacerbate this problem.  Kids going to college are introduced to this utter freedom with liquor for the first time and binge at every party.  Statistics show that our country has the highest rate of alcoholism, alcohol deaths (vehicular or otherwise), and assaults.  Some could say that is because we are Americans (hell, we love to party), but I believe it might have to do with the attitude towards alcohol in other countries - no drinking age, no such rush to binge and pass out - just enjoy your wine with dinner.

While I am not proposing banning alcohol (it has it's good properties in moderation), a serious look at this as a drug and how society views it as more acceptable than other, less harmful illegal drugs, is warranted.


Which brings us to the most debated drug, marijuana.  It was interesting to see one of the Democratic debates at the end of 2003 (I believe it was hosted by MTV).  One of the questions presented to the Democratic hopefuls was if they had ever smoked pot.  Somewhat surprisingly, over half said that they had.  What was even more intriguing was that those answers weren't repeated to death by the media.  Marijuana, it seems, has become the acceptable illegal drug.

Which leads me to two points:
Number one - marijuana safety.  It is already being used to treat cancer patients, to lessen the pain in a natural way (adults and children).  The state of California agrees that this should be legal, even though they are fighting the Federal government for their own state laws.

Biologically, marijuana is both safer than alcohol and cigarettes, as long as it isn't smoked.  The drug, when smoked, has no filter and contains more carcinogens than cigarettes, up your chances of lung, mouth, throat cancer, just to name a few.  So say hello to the cancer patient special brownie mix - don't smoke your dope.

Number two - mandatory sentencing.  If you do not know about this, please go to a library or research it on-line.  Regan screwed our justice system in the 80's by getting mandatory sentencing laws passed.  So now we have the crazy scenario of killers and rapists leaving the big house before petty drug dealers or unfortunate hippies.

This is one of my biggest problems with our government - it just doesn't make any sense at all.