Drug news you can use
I followed the author's instructions up to the part where I was supposed to be in my easy chair ("The Drug Test," 4/9/08). I toked half of the 30X sample at my kitchen table and headed for my easy chair. I didn't make it. Halfway there I was lost in a psychic maelstrom with no concept of where I was or what was reality. The experience was the most intense mind warp I have ever dabbled in, though it was mercifully short.
When all else fails, read the instructions. The Salvia Divinorum Research Information Center's site strongly suggests that first-time psychonauts should have a minder (babysitter) at hand. If you want to toke, do it so you can drop the pipe into a large ashtray/plate and immediately flop into bed in a quiet and darkened room. The site also says that no one is physically injured by the herb and that few try it a second time. It is intense and ugly—think mind rape—but I did ask for it.
I once read a book titled Dreamtime and Inner Space in which the author stated that entering the shamanic mindset always follows death. Those Mexican shamans weren't playing party games, folks. If you smoke salvia divinorum, you will meet the nagual and you will be scared shitless without shelter or handhold; but you will survive.
David Rhody St. Paul
Reefer madness all over again
Rep. Joe Atkins has also stated that salvia goes for $8 a pound. Since you bought some, you know that this is not the case.
Rep. Atkins is quite obviously full of disinformation.
A source of some good salvia information can be found at www.sagewisdom.org when you select users guide. Thanks for publishing an unbiased, check-it-out-for-yourself article.
Todd L. Bloomington
Didn't Michael Moore already do that?
After reading part, but not all, of the article on the movie Stop-Loss, where the author compared this movie to the past renditions of Vietnam, I stopped reading it and wanted to make a request ("Iraq War Movie Goes Apolitical," 3/26/08). I personally would love to see an article written by the same writer after he has traveled around the country and interviewed families that have lost loved ones in the war. While I'm certain this would not happen, it would also be great if he could spend a couple of weeks in Iraq to get a sense of reality. It's my hope that if you push part of this along, he would cover the entire spectrum of soldiers with wounds who return, soldiers with mental issues who return, and the soldiers who seem normal. I also would hope he would visit families that have lost parents, children, and brothers and sisters as well. I'm interested in the complete truth about the war. The best way to denounce reality is to prove it. I will be looking for the article and read your paper nearly every week!
Brady Braziel Minneapolis
Blood and treasure
I've just finished filing my taxes, and am going to write a check to the government for the amount I owe, which is fine with me, as long as my money is primarily spent for people in the community and the nation where I live, not for people halfway around the globe. Last week's main story, "The Soldier Suicides" (3/26/08), really left me to wonder how our government could justify spending billions of dollars, and worse yet, risking and losing so many precious lives, to support citizens of other nations to live better at the cost of your own people? I'm not against charity or humanitarian service, but it should not be provided beyond an affordable level, and I'm upset that we actual fundraisers of the war are left to live miserably in an uncertain future because of the government's selfish aim to accomplish the mission. The economy seems to be deteriorating at the fastest pace ever and the signs of fragileness are obvious at every corner of the street. I sincerely hope that residents in our community hang on until the economy (hopefully) improves under the new president.
Mayuri Sugita Minneapolis
Power ballads killed the heavy metal star
Kudos on an article that should have been written decades ago ("Sex, Drugs, and Awesome Hair," 3/19/08). I'm glad that Jeff Guntzel pointed out that a lot of those bands did put out their own records. Slave Raider were not the only band to get a major-label deal. Hurricane Alice did a record with Atlantic, and Impaler were on Combat. And not only metal bands, but all bands looked ridiculous back then. It was the '80s. Also, I agree that it wasn't Grunge that killed '80s metal. I can tell you the cause of death for '80s metal in two words: power ballads. How metal is it to wank on an acoustic guitar and bongos?
Matt Batchelor, the Fire Breathing Drummer Minneapolis
You can be Christian and wax strippers' pubic hair
When I first read the article "Jesus Weekend" (3/5/08), I was left very confused. I thought, "How could the program that I know, that was born out of love, be anything like the program in this article?" After giving it a second and third read, I realized that it's because it was written by someone who didn't understand and was not open to the love that goes into something like that. Plus, above all, it was poorly researched.
I want to start by saying I am in no way a hippy-dippy Bible thumper. I am a 24-year-old female who lives in a loft in the North Loop area of Minneapolis. I work in a high-end spa where I do Brazilian waxes on some fairly classy strippers. I do yoga twice a week, I drink a lot of Guinness and other dark stouts, and will kick any challenger's ass at Guitar Hero.
However, the most important detail about me is that I am a very loyal Episcopalian and a "product" of Great Northern Teens Encounter Christ. Yeah, that's right, TEC. I'm sure the writer was shaken by his experience in a Catholic TEC community, but it seems very irresponsible that he would write a story about something that he hasn't fully experienced. There are many TEC programs in the state. In the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota alone, there are four independently run TECs, not counting the Catholic and Lutheran programs. This story was like writing a thesis on Jesus, having only gone to one Catholic mass.
Our youth aren't treated like they are ignorant. They are empowered to question their faith. They are not the Jesus zombies you described.
Ashley Mitchell Minneapolis