HAPPY HALLOW'S EVE
Maybe it's the solar flare thingy heating the scene up but the Halloween energy took over lovely downtown Noho early today. I've already seen lots of great costumes and an amazing little piece of street theater before 7:00pm.
My favorite was the parade of tykes at 4:20. A dozen four year olds in glamorous costumes parading down the sidewalk. An angel, a gypsy, a pirate, a puppy, a princess and my favorite, the tiniest little black kid dressed up as an African drum. He was all in black with natural wood beads around his neck and wearing a really new white drum net - that webbing they wrap around those tall drums- strutting down the street, head and shoulders above his companions even though he was six inches shorter.
The street theater was like a medievel flash mob. There was one guy in a giant puppet costume, like an Chinese dragon at New Year, only he was a drooling Alien, and he was surrounded by a dozen ghouls that tumbled around him or stood stock still and struck dramatic poses. They performed in front of every restaurant window on Main Street I'd guess. Hope they got some press. They deserved it. I'm pretty jaded these days and I watched them do six windows before I moved on.
Still working off the top of the inbox this week. Drug Sense Weekly offers an interesting study in contrasts. The entire issue is worth reading as always, but for those of you like my dear friend Michael who refuse to click on the links, let me illustrate.
First a look at the results of the almost forgotten insanity of Operation Afghanistan Freedom from the evils of the Taliban. Hell, I've forgotten the catchy name of that war myself. Now the Taliban was truly evil and oppressive however they had eliminated the heroin trade in the country.
Since we 'freed' those indigenous Afghanis, they are now scrabbling this many years later in the ashes of what was once at least a predictable if not exactly comfortable life. Today, Osama is still alive if not in body, then in organization, and the heroin trade, that the Taliban had almost eliminated, has exploded into dangerously unprecendented levels.
Don't take my word for it, from the newsletter,
UN: AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION SPREADING LIKE CANCER
Opium cultivation is spreading like a cancer in Afghanistan and risks transforming the world's leading supplier into a state of narco-terrorists and drug cartels, a U.N. survey said Wednesday.
Opium poppy cultivation is fanning out to areas it has never been seen in before, the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its Afghanistan Opium survey for 2003 -- the first conducted in cooperation with the national government.
High prices for opium have lured poor farmers away from conventional farming, spreading poppy cultivation to 28 of Afghanistan's 32 provinces from 18 provinces four years ago.
"Either major surgical drug-control measures are taken now or the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading and metastasize into corruption, violence and terrorism," said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa.
Call me crazy but this does not sound like change for the better. This is why I'm so insulted when our Boy George gets up and proclaims the world is a better place under his leadership. Is misleadership a word?
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The counterpoint comes from a musician named Moby, also in this week's issue of Drug Sense. The name made me think of the old band Moby Grape, they were a little obscure but really fine musicologists. I wondered if it was the same person since the perspective of the piece felt so mature. In any event I found Moby, a reasonable voice in the cacophony.
A High That Wouldn't Hurt
I would love to see recreational drugs that aren't bad for you and that aren't addictive. It's obvious that billions of people the world over enjoy recreational drugs from time to time, and that most of these drugs ( the legal and illegal ones ) are physically harmful and/or addictive. So why can't the chemical composition and/or means of delivery of certain drugs be altered so that they're no longer harmful or addictive?
Not to drag out this old cliche, but do you mean to tell me that they can put a man on the moon but they can't subtly alter recreational drugs so that they're not addictive or bad for you? One doesn't have to make the case for the importance of recreational drug use, as almost every society since the extinction of the Neanderthals has to some extent incorporated recreational drug use as a valued or important personal or communal ritual.
These recreational drugs could be anything from alcohol to psilocybin mushrooms to opium to tobacco, and all of these are, to varying extents, toxic. So just as we've taken the sting out of space travel, why can't we eliminate or ameliorate the toxic qualities and effects of recreational drug use? We have the technology. We wouldn't become a nation of addicts, because addiction would be impossible.
Becoming addicted to these new drugs would be akin to developing an addiction to corn. Recreational drug use has been, and continues to be, an integral part of our culture. Recreational drug use is practiced in bars and in churches, in Dumpsters and in penthouses, so with all of our technological resources, why can't we make it as safe as it is fun?
I actually find this frighteningly like Brave New Worldish soma logic but it beats the hell out of out denying that human beings have an inherent need to alter their consiousness. Some percentage of our species will always want to understand and experience the cosmos outside of the framework of ordinary existence.
El Dia de los Muertos"
It's almost the midnight hour from where I sit so I'm taking the last word myself tonight. I had a request for a suggestion for a slogan to go with a Cheech and Chong costume tonight. Now I'm terrible at them but in the spirit of the holiday I offered,
Bongs don't hurt people, John Walters' do.
The solar flares are likely to make this a wild night. Don't forget to look up at the night sky in case there's an aurora borealis right above your head.
Celebrate the dead and the living.