MOVING FORWARD ON MARIJUANA: THE REASON WHY IT…DUDE, WAIT, I JUST HAD THE MOST AMAZING IDEA…DO YOU WANNA ORDER A PIZZA?

“How would life be if the world smoked weed/Guaranteed there’d be peace not greed/See, it’s hell/Living in a cell/Legalize the plant only time will tell.”
-Kottonmouth Kings, “Peace not Greed”

It has begun: the infestation of laziness and content and the unmotivated dreamers that spark great ideas, and then forget to do something about them.  They are waiting for the opportunity to come and break through their door, pick them off the couch, and make them millionaires.

I don’t like marijuana; I don’t like the smell and I particularly dislike the way people act on the substance.  I’ve personally never been under the influence, it’s just not for me, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t observed and experienced the actions of others.  I’ve found it interesting that more people cared about why I didn’t partake in pot than I cared of why they did.

After years of research I was unknowingly absorbing, I’ve also discovered that most marijuana users don’t believe they are affected by the drug.  However, it’s because they don’t see it from the sober perspective; they are normally hanging around people who are on the same mental wavelength.  The lines in a funny movie don’t change, and the notes a band plays don’t change; the mind is altered.  It’s the same mental concept an alcoholic eventually develops.  Just because the substance is natural that doesn’t mean it’s not bad for you; alcohol comes from natural ingredients, tobacco is natural, mushrooms are natural, and peyote is natural.  That’s more than high-fructose corn syrup can claim though.

The main chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which enters an individual’s blood stream before reaching the brain in seconds.  This interaction causes haziness, dilated eyes making colors more intense along with other senses becoming enhanced like hearing those certain notes a band plays, and eventually leads to paranoia.  THC mimics neurotransmitters and binds with cannabinoid receptors and activates neurons causing adverse effects on the mind and body.  Things like short-term memory, coordination, learning, and problem solving are puffed right out of the system (Bosner, 2013)).  That’s why people under the influence are constantly asking, “haha, what are you talking about, man,” have trouble transferring food from their hands to their mouth, cannot have a grammatically correct conversation, or simply take more than a minute to figure out how to get from one room to the next.

For more proof; I’m sure that most have suffered from side effects which are a prime example of the brain making the body aware that something is not normal.  For example: cotton mouth (is that why they named the band that?), nausea, vomiting, heart and blood pressure problems, impaired mental functioning (huh?), headache, dizziness, numbness, panic episodes, hallucinations, flashbacks, depression, and sexual problems.  It can also weaken the immune system, lead to emphysema or lung disease, enhance seizure disorders, and has a negative effect on the central nervous system (Webmd).  What doesn’t these days though?

It’s cool, man, we’re cool.  With all that being said, legalize the plant.  I will even gladly express the benefits that don’t include mild euphoria.

Colorado and Washington took great strides by passing the joint for recreational use in 2013 and 2014.  If you’re over 21 and live in-state you can purchase up to one ounce at a licensed distributor; out-of-state is a quarter-ounce.  You’re only allowed to smoke on private properties, and DUI laws are in effect (Martinez, 2014).  Essentially, don’t drive or go to work high; it’s common sense, but that can sometimes go up in smoke.  Let’s take a look at some benefits.

-Taxes: Retail weed will have a 25% tax, plus an additional 2.9% sales tax in the State of Colorado (Martinez, 2014).
-Over a third of the taxed revenue (estimated at $27.5 million) will go to building schools in Colorado (Martinez, 2014)
-More small businesses will open and boost local economy.
-More can be grown in the good ol’ U.S. of A. (maybe?).
-It will give drug cartels one less thing to push (maybe?).
-Slackers will finally have something to do; a person is allowed to grow up to six enclosed and locked plants in their home, but must be licensed to sell (Martinez, 2014).
-The police can concentrate more on real crimes.
-Pain relief: Medicinal weed still requires a physician’s recommendation, but won’t face additional taxes (Martinez, 2014).
-A healthier unhealthy alternative to unhealthy vices (huh?).
-People will stay home more and stop annoying the rest of the community (whom has the right to not allow marijuana stores in their jurisdiction (Martinez, 2014)).

he legalization may have an interesting take on society.  If legal, there’s no challenge or thrill anymore; just like after someone turns 21: they don’t have to rely on a brother or sister or homeless guy to buy alcohol for them.  That begs the question, what is next?  Why don’t we all just smoke some crack until that is legal, then meth and heroin until proven a resource, and then just start killing ourselves to cut out the middle man because suicide will eventually be accepted.

We have to draw the line somewhere, but the legalization of marijuana is not a big deal; it’s only a big deal if you make it one.  People escape reality, that’s just what they do.  Everyone who reads a book, sees a movie, listen to music, or watches reality television is escaping reality.  Let the stoners be stoned, the let the drunkards be drunk, and let the public be entertained if that’s what they want to legally do for recreation.  Once you start concentrating so much on what others are doing then you’re living in their reality and not your own.  Just another escape.

Smoking weed is not going to make the country a better place; it will probably make it dumber and even more vulnerable and dependent.  However, buying it will actually help out.  Whoa… wait (cough cough)…what?

Bosner, K. (2013). Retrieved from http://science.howstuffworks.com/marijuana3.htm on January 24, 2014.

Martinez, M. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/28/us/10-things-colorado-recreational-marijuana/ on January 24, 2014

WebMd (2014). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-947-MARIJUANA.aspx?activeIngredientId=947&activeIngredientName=MARIJUANA on January 24, 2014

REPORT: 160 MILLION OVERWEIGHT DRIVERS BREAK RESOLUTIONS

“Cause I’m broken/When I’m open/And I don’t feel I am/Strong Enough”
-Seether, “Broken”

It has been 19 days since claims of necessary changes were barked and new starts were promised; the turn of the year when the future looks bright and the past needs to be forgotten; a time for redemption and achieving lost goals and dreams.  It has been 19 days of new faces at the gym, adults returning to the classroom, alcohol and tobacco sales decreasing, and the produce section of the grocery store no longer consists just of older ladies.

A certain writer is determined to perfect his own barbecue sauce, the most amazing amber lager, refresh his piano and guitar, finish projects that have gone on long enough, and test the limits of self-learning and abilities.  He also would like to stop stressing out about driving; it just seems easier to write a book about it.

Please keep an eye out for that writer’s first book, “Driving: Road Rants and No Raves”.  The non-fiction manuscript is set to hit shelves and online stores early 2014.  Spoiler alert: I’m that writer.

No matter how strong and successful the average person is regarding their resolutions, there’s always the negative thought process.  Americans love to focus on the one bad thing instead of the other four good things; the one failure to the four accomplishments; the one loss to the four victories; the one negative to the four positives; the one synonym to the four other synonyms.

As Americans deal with their first-world problems, they still find difficulty in keeping their resolutions; and why not?  It’s easy to get comfortable, and everyone can relate.  With that being said, most can also relate to the daily commute.

Less than 19 days is all it took to grind teeth, spread arms out of confusion, raise hands and a certain finger out of frustration, and to rest a head against the window complemented by a frown.  Less than 19 days to honk a horn, tailgate, attempt to avoid the unavoidable potholes and sewer lids, and deal with construction.

Refresher: http://clknauf.com/2013/12/09/paseo-del-norte-broke-ground-on-broken-spirits/

We touched on Paseo a few weeks back, but let’s focus on the nation as a whole, and what better way to do so with statistics that no one cares about.

-90 Percent of Americans drive to work; that’s around 160 million people Dews, 2013).
-According to the US Census Bureau, the average commute time is 25.4 minutes.
-Top ten not provided by David Letterman.
Driving StatsGraph courtesy of Mashable (2013). http://mashable.com/2013/11/07/cities-worst-commutes/ 

That’s a lot of time in the vehicle to think about what’s wrong with your life.  Drivers have some serious issues while handling a giant machine that took a whole two weeks to obtain a government-issued license to operate.  It’s stressful to deal with the competition and the rage, the addictive need to respond to a text messages, women (and transvestites) putting on make-up, people eating burritos, guys (and butch women) shaving, people drinking coffee, and parents paying more attention to their children in the back than the cars in front.  There’s a lack of attention; people getting bored and driving (no pun intended) each other crazy seeing the same stupid faces next to them everyday to and from work.  It’s like they’re your friend and enemy; how stressful.

One disappointing resolution can lead to the breaking of another.  Health is one of the most popular choices amongst people willing to attempt to change their lives.  Of course there are the people who don’t make resolutions because they’re obviously perfect or don’t care, but many others take advantage of the opportunity to start over.  Maybe a resolution for the perfect ones is to not ridicule people for their decisions?  No, no, no; that’s too much to ask, plus that would point out a flaw; how embarrassing.

Here are rarely thought-about issues that stress creates on the body: chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability and anger, panic and attention disorders, grinding teeth and jaw tension, rapid heart rates and arrhythmias, strokes, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, digestive disorders and irritable bowel syndrome (how inappropriate), upset stomach and abdominal plain, muscle tension, fibromyalgia (whatever the hell that is), complex regional pain syndrome, alcoholism, drug and tobacco addictions, suicide, decreased sex drive, and weight gain and obesity (Heart Math, 2014).

Eureka!  Driving makes you fat (and I think they mentioned something about attention disorders, hmm?).  69.2% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese (CDC, 2010).  Plug that into the stats mentioned above and the evidence is strong.  Coincidence?  Probably not, but at least one writer is skeptical.

See how easy the breaking of resolutions can lead to some other breakdown?  Yearly goals aren’t for everyone because attempting to accept disappointment is sometimes harder to do than achieving goals; however, we could all use a little change as Smash Mouth would say.  It’s better to accept disappointment than to never face it; just take it easy as The Eagles would say.  Some people need to stop making music references.

Maybe it’s time to slow down on the road, in life, and for your health.  Then maybe next year a whole month will go by without any broken resolutions.

CDC (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm on January 17th, 2014

Dews, F. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/brookings-now/posts/2013/10/ninety-percent-of-americans-drive-to-work on January 17th, 2014

Heart Math (2014).  Retrieved from http://www.heartmath.com/infographics/how-stress-effects-the-body.html on January 17th, 2014.

BREAKING UP WITH THE BCS

“I remember the good times baby now, and the bad times too/These last few weeks of holding on/The days are dull, the nights are long/Guess it’s better to say/Goodbye to you.”
-Patty Smyth, “Goodbye to You”

One week ago today, we officially said “goodbye” to one of the strangest formulas embedded into not only college football, but athletics in general; something that rivals Cricket scoring (if you don’t know how that game works, and I don’t).  The Bowl Championship Series was so powerful and deemed the future that it reshaped conferences in other college sports and analysts would even refer to basketball teams as “BCS” schools.  The future is here, and another chapter begins.

Florida State defeated Auburn and ended the SEC’s stranglehold on BCS national championships, halting the 7-year win streak the conference maintained.  The Seminoles were a team of domination, but the Tigers were a team destined to finish second and prove to everyone that good luck runs dry and dreams don’t always come true.

However, the relationship between the BCS and the public ended on good terms; we gained closure with an instant classic.  It featured a young Heisman winner struggling early, a surprising 18-point lead Auburn was destined to lose, a fake punt that changed momentum, and then great halftime speeches (probably, I wasn’t there).

The second half provided a thrilling conclusion to the game featuring 3 lead changes in 4 minutes: a kickoff return by seemingly the fastest person in the game, a powerful 37-yard scamper by seemingly the most-balanced person in the game, and a 7-play, 75-yard drive with just over a minute by the seemingly most-composed 20-year-old in the game.  Jameis Winston proved to people why he won the Heisman trophy by having the worst game of his life turn into the best game of his life.

The relationship ended with one great last bang (wait, what are we talking about here?).  It’s been a rollercoaster of controversy throughout the course of the BCS.  Everyone didn’t agree when their team was not given a chance, but computers don’t lie; on the contrary, computers shouldn’t be included in a game that’s physically played on the field. If horse racing wagers take weather and track conditions into consideration, why couldn’t the BCS “computers”?  There are other factors than numbers, that’s all I’m saying even though it doesn’t really make sense.

The BCS isn’t entirely going away though; kind of like a normal break-up at the beginning of a broken heart.  It will still be the formula that decides which teams compete in a four-team playoff.

Playoffs? http://youtu.be/s2R2sH2ScBM  

That’s right, playoffs!  The BCS has finally grasped onto the future by accepting what’s already in place and has been for years; everyone else does it, even other divisions in the same sport; and to stop your sarcastic question, yes the BCS would jump off a bridge if everyone else was doing it.

So here we go.  Six bowls games (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Chik-fil-A, and Cotton) will be rotating locations for two semifinal matches each year, and the championship will be held at whichever city ponies up the most money.  The conferences guaranteed a spot in the six main bowl games are the champions of the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC.  The last spot will be awarded to the highest-ranked champion from the American, Mountain West (Go Lobos!), Mid-American, Sun Belt, and Conference USA (Barnhart, 2014).  This sounds wonderful, but only four of those six teams will have a chance to compete for the national championship, so you can just pretty much take that “other conference” representative out of the running right now.

It doesn’t make much sense at the moment, but feel free to check the Barnhart reference link at the end of the post.  However, before we move forward into common sense, let’s take a look back at the craziness.

1998: Tennessee 23 Florida State 16- You probably thought Peyton Manning won this game, but he didn’t.  It was Tee Martin leading the Volunteers to victory (Who the hell is Tee Martin and what the hell kind of name is “Volunteers”?).
1999: Florida State 46 Virginia Tech 29- Michael Vick began adopting dogs to cope with the loss.
2000: Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2- Quite possibly the most boring game of all time (I can’t vouch for that because I don’t remember watching it, but just look at the score).
2001: Miami 37 Nebraska 14- The day tradition died at the Rose Bowl.  I could have said, “The day the flowers stopped blooming,” but it was too late.
2002: Ohio State 31 Miami 24 (2OT)- The most thrilling of games and upsets surrounded by a gruesome injury and some controversy; finally some drama in the midst of the boredom, but I’m not complaining.  Go Buckeyes (I have the DVD of the game)!
2003: LSU 21 Oklahoma 14- A boring defensive struggle by teams that probably shouldn’t have been playing each other.  Sorry, USC.
2004: USC 55 Oklahoma 19- The championship was eventually vacated, but don’t worry, Matt Leinart’s hair was still intact after the game.
2005: Texas 41 USC 38- Most likely the best BCS championship game ever, and then Vince Young decided to fail as a person.
2006: Florida 41 Ohio State 14- Oh, how a pulled hamstring can change the dynamics of a game.
2007: LSU 38 Ohio State 24- And no one believed in the Buckeyes after that.
2008: Florida 24 Oklahoma 14- When Tim Tebow was great and his love for God wasn’t ridiculed.
2009: Alabama 37 Texas 21- This is when it was cool that Alabama was good; now they’re just annoying.
2010: Auburn 22 Oregon 19- The Ducks seemed to be distracted by their own uniforms that night.
2011: Alabama 21 LSU 0- Perhaps the stupidest attempt to put a conference on a pedestal.
2012: Alabama 42 Notre Dame 14- Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend left during the 3rd quarter out of disappointment.
2013: Florida State 34 Auburn 31- I’m sorry; it’s not you, it’s me.  Just kidding, it’s you.

The memories of a love-hate relationship between the nation and a formula will never disappear.  Oh, BCS, I will always remember the good times and the bad, the excitement and disappointment, and chances that were given and the dreams that were shattered between the numbers.  As the Von Trapp Family Singers would say, “Goodbye, farewell, auf wierdersehen, adieu.”

Associated Press (2014).  Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2014/01/07/beats-to-win-bcs-championship-game/ on January 10th, 2014.

Barnhart, T (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/tony-barnhart/24400200/before-bcs-ends-the-whens-wheres-and-whys-of-college-football-playoff on January 10th, 2014.

BCS (2013). Retrieved from http://www.bcsfootball.org/news/story?id=4809942 on January 10th, 2014.

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE…NOT TO CARE

“The doctor said my mom should have had an abortion.”
-Sum 41, “Fat Lip”

Happy 2014!  There’s no need to throw your goals out the window quite yet.

I think it’s obvious, some people needed to be aborted when their parents had the opportunity.

Like this guy…
Dahmer 
Photo provided by Biography.com

And this guy…
Stupid Guy
Photo provided by Sick  of Em

And this guy…
Miley
Photo provided by Mirror.com

How rude.  However, recent events in Albuquerque have pushed the limitations of what is right and wrong (kind of like the beginning of this post).

The voters in the Duke City rejected a ban that would prohibit late-term abortions (20+ weeks into a pregnancy).  I really have no opinion in the matter because it doesn’t involve me, but I know that it’s important to the public so let’s kill some time and make some choices (bad wording; or clever?).

Political agendas seem to focus on situations like abortion and gay marriage that are miniscule in comparison to the actual issues that need to be addressed.  However, if you can distract the voters from budget issues, healthcare, poverty, and tax increases then it’s surprisingly easier to gain the attention of a broader and pretentious audience only wanting to hear pleasant-sounding promises of equality and freedom to choose.

During the fight for gay marriage, I asked five homosexuals (see, I can be politically correct) their views on the potential legalization; two of them didn’t even care.  Concerning the abortion ban, I have two friends that have ended pregnancies early, but they were well before the time period that was proposed in the rejected ban.  Out of all the people I know, that’s a whopping seven individuals who are affected by the two issues that have crazed Americans throughout most of 2013.  100% of people I know are affected by finances and healthcare.  Where are our priorities?

Let’s get back to what matters though.  Sometimes people fight to have a voice and make a difference, sometimes people fight just to fit in with their peers, and sometimes people fight because they have nothing else to do, but we’re all expected to have an opinion.  Like the screaming lady pictured below.  For some reason, I don’t like her and her reaction.
Early poll results from the Andaluz hotel on the special election
Photo provided by Albuquerque Journal

Why is she so damn ecstatic?  Is she ready to abort her 20+ week fetus?  You won’t see me protesting or protesting protesters to prove that I know everything because I still don’t, so we will look at abortion from a couple of angles.

Religious values and science once again disagree; however, each makes valid arguments.  Who is anyone to play God?  Does everyone deserve a fighting chance? Miracles happen, so why can’t it happen to this child or this woman?  It’s a moral issue that many people don’t understand despite their belief in their knowledge of belief.  When one doesn’t have faith or an intelligent grasp on others’ beliefs then they’re more likely to focus on their best interest, which is fine, people are entitled to believe in whatever they are best suited for.  If there’s no representation of God as some suggest, then they can make the decision on their own.

A woman’s body is sacred (can’t mix religion with medicine here); okay, a woman’s body is pretty sweet.  If there‘s the risk that the mother or the child will not survive the birth and one must make the ultimate sacrifice then the reasoning makes sense.  However, the ban made an exception for situations in which the mother would die without the abortion (Bassett, 2013).  Okay, so, what else were people fighting for?

Non-supporters of the ban shouldn’t be allowed to play the rape (not race) card.  It doesn’t take 20 weeks to realize you were raped; it takes about 20 minutes and a little sobriety.

Another situation that could arise is the possibility of the child being born with mental or physical abnormalities.  This is a very sensitive subject because the decision needs to be made whether or not to give them a chance while understanding the difficulty they will experience in life, and the complicated journey of raising a child with disabilities.  However, Tim (pictured below) kind of proved everyone wrong on that one.  He owns a restaurant; I know a lot more than seven people who are incapable of doing the same.
Tim
Photo provided by Tim’s Place (Albuquerque)

On the other hand, there’s occasionally the guarantee that a child will not survive after birth and that diagnosis isn’t discovered until later in the pregnancy.  Should a person give birth with hope of a miracle or accept fate and not risk the life of the woman as well?

So what exactly is right and wrong?  Is it right or wrong to say that some people should have been aborted?  Is it right or wrong to distract voters by using political strategies?  Is it right or wrong to take away one heartbeat to save another depending on the situation?  Is it right or wrong to prevent misery and despair?  Is it right or wrong to play God?

Those questions are for you to answer and me not to worry about because most hot topics don’t apply to me; and they really don’t apply to many others.  If we want to preach equality or freedom to choose, try focusing on something that applies to everyone; gay, straight, black, white, female, male, and whoever else.  For example:

Percentage of gay and lesbian Americans: 3.5% (Gates, 2011)
Percentage of late-term abortions: 2% of 35% (Dudley, 2003) (I’m too lazy to do the rest of the math)
Percentage of Americans that are taxed, affected by deficit, and should have healthcare: 100%

Let’s start the New Year by getting our priorities in order.

Bassett, L. (2013). Retrieved from                 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/19/albuquerque-abortion_n_4301860.html       on January 3, 2014

Dudley, S. (2003). Retrieved from     http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/women_who.html on January 3, 2014

Gates, G. (2011) Retrieved from                                http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/how-    many-people-are-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender/ on January 3, 2014