Friday, May 25, 2012

The Legality of the Spices

Spice
As many of you know I am Colombian, and opposite to what many of you see it, the cliche of someone who smokes and acts almost as a hippie it's just a mere fallacy but I am also someone who grew up way too close to the so called Plan Colombia and the effects of controlled substance over individuals and entire families.

It's a long and difficult topic to speak about it since it goes from the psychological level up to the legality of the substances. Having a series of conversations with my brother, we ended up in the same position as we talked before, he ended up saying that legality could prevent more dead's or suffering because of the legal issues but my went to the point where if is the safest option to emulate the same position as Portugal and decriminalize drugs by offering State help?. Are any of the solutions or the possible points we saw do they could solve the problem?, we don't. The reason of our reasonable doubt lies in the problematic that probably the governments don't see the human aspect of the problematic but rather a series of statistics about the use of controlled subtance (being illicit or no) are major problems, where alcohol being the number option as well cigarettes and marijuana (plus it's derived products) because of an array of reasons regarding the users.

So, prohibition could be an answer?. Maybe not, even so far in the year 2012 the median even with the decline over the last two years regarding the drop on the use on the youth population (age 12-16) and young adults (age 17 to 30) shows a common factor where the idea of prohibition attracts more users. Maybe, my brother was right, the eradication of the sales could be based on abolishing prohibition, but yet is not a full solution as if we go on the on the emotional side that I exposed why have to deal with similar problems regarding alcoholism but that are related to other substances.

Plane eradicating illicit crops
Colombia is one living contradiction, a contradiction that can be blamed on how the media (local and international) on how the handle the issues regarding the conflict. Much of the two major channels they tend to over sensationalize the news and the international media when they cover on a local level they only show the worst of the worse in order to sell on the different domestic markets. The harsh penalties on a national level they show some really interesting results but they tend to polarize on the spectrum where unscrupulous individuals and the insurgent groups are still trying to generate income through exportation, the phenomenon of exporting the drugs is being diminished but at the same time it's creating a side where violence is turning the panoroma for worse, but the influence of the hard economical times is given people a more difficult chance to have a decent life. So again, legalization could an option?. Emulate what Colorado is doing even if it defies Federal Laws in order to create income and stop the violence?. Probably it could work but marijuana it's the least of the problems as there are different alkaloids who are putting the government efforts on jeopardy.

But there is another issue where not many governments had put a control and a contingency plan for the abuser; the analogues to cannabinoids or as they are known in the market, Spice, herbal incenses, legal herbs or the name that it's advertised in the country or county you live in. The base for the different brands of "synthetic pot" comes from an analgesic from the naphthoylinole family, that acts an full agonist for CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors which emulates the effect of THC leading to is use in the synthetic weed. Syntactic weed, as is known (or Spice or Kronic) are a variety of herbal mixtures that produce similar experiences to cannabis and even if the safety of these produce haven't been tested yet, they are sold as "safe" or legal alternatives to the drugs even if they defy local policies regarding the consumption of these products.

There is a mild hypocrisy as our speech develops because we have to points, do people who are hook to these substances need help and they could get a chance to avoid this vice if the government goes on a legal level, to make marijuana more legal than something toxic as the cannabinoids? or society is would be essentially fucked?.  Probably the best start that we could focus is on the Netherlands.

Marijuana Bar "Speak Easy"
To give a small synopsis on the legal status of one of the first countries who went soft on weed, they have a very soft approach but yet hard regarding quantities, production and consumption of marijuana. It's often tolerated on certain places as coffeshops where the rules are: No advertising of the place, sales of hard drugs are prohibited, no sales to anyone under 18, no transaction beyond 5 grams and no public disturbances; similar as the U.S.A. dispensaries. Even if the law is softer on the side of the consumption of something that it's still illegal, business who violate any of these can close for 3 months up to an indeterminate period.

The laws even go further in putting small locks such as coffeshops can not be around 250 meters of Schools or they will be closed as well for tourists who to Netherlands regarding the drug tourism. Maybe the United States could implement some of these easy rules to break the different circles regarding the breeding and trafficking. One piece of information that my grandfather told me when I was younger Genetic predisposition is the key of the addiction in people and anything can turn you into an addict if you have the correct sequence into the D.NA. I can say that he was right, because years later I did experience on flesh an blood what he said and yet to this day I do believe in what he said.

So, do we have to treat everyone as potential addicts to control drugs as marijuana?. In my own opinion, no, we can't not see society as potential addicts but yet we can see different people, individuals who could have a problem based on family history, which should be the key to eradicate this terrible business and generate more public treatments for the people who wants to kick their habits, because smoking is not different from drinking, and they are not good for the body on a long term.

Yet, Spices, AK, Scooby-Snax, Kronic or whatever you want to call them are more of a major problem than the problem itself because of the chemical compounds and the denial from the users that is just mere tobacco or organic herbs, because they feel a placebo effect regarding what they smoke and probably there is some enjoyment as every other controlled substance because it creates an effect of bliss or serenity regarding the user experiences. Should it be legal?, It should be controlled and there should be alternatives to find solutions to these old problem because we aren't born depending  to any substance and the treatments should be free.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Skinheads Criollos

Esta es una de la notas, debido a que es un fenomeno social que tiene decadas en la cultura urbana me encantaria estar mas cerca y poder investigar el fenomeno de los diferentes skinheads en Colombia debido a que por lo que he visto hay diferentes facciones a traves de Facebook en lo que alguna vez fue un fenomeno que solo se ha visto en Europa y los Estados Unidos y ha sido exclusivamente asociado con su proximidad al neonazimos, odio etnico y referente a la sexualidad. Pero, mi pregunta es ¿acaso es mismo se esta viviendo en Colombia? Personalmente no lo se, y no se hasta que tanto este fenomeno esta evolucionado en el pais ya que me encuentro lejos.

Pero comencemos en orden, el fenomeno de los cabeza rapada comenzo en Londres entre las clases obreras en los años 60 y durante esa decada la subcultura se esparcio en diferentes partes del Reino Unido y posteriormente en diferentes paises. Pero la influencia de los skin heads no comenzo necesariamente en Londres, en Londres solo el fenomeno tomo mas acogida y evoluciono; los primeros rastros comenzaron con los rude-boys o los rudy en Jamaica que aunque en un principio era asociados con criminales el termino evoluciono en un punto donde se asocio mas con la tercera ola de musica ska y de los dancehalls; pero el termino sigo y sigue siendo asociado con bandas criminales debido a las diferentes diasporas culturales y sociales.

El espectro politico de los skinheads va de la extrema derecha a la extrema izquierda; y aunque no todos estan ligados con la politica; las influencias de la moda comienzan en la era de la post guerra donde la juventud con un mayor ingreso economico le invertien dinero a las modas popularizadas por grupos Soul Britanicos y Estado Unidenses al igual que la moda mostrada en la television y las peliculas al igual que la influencia callejera del Mercado en la Carnaby Street.

Si nos adelantamos un poco mas a la epoca, alrededor de 1965, fue cuando se produjo una division en el movimiento, los peacock se dividieron de los hard mod, que eran y son los que siguen siendo identificados como los mas violentos en el movimiento.

Pero entonces, es dificil pensar en un ¿skinhead negro?, No, el movimiento aunque haya sido violento, tiene raices en Jaimica como fue dicho previamente y posteriormente adaptado a las necesidades de diferentes grupos que interpretaron la ideologia de diferentes maneras, casi como la religion en donde hay diferentes interpretaciones. Uno de los primeros eventos donde se puede detectar a los skinheads negros actuando con los blancos es en el Reino Unido en alrededor de 1969 cuando la imigracion Sur y Centro Asiatica tuvo un boom y varios Pakistanies emigraron en busca de una mejor vida; pero en el otro polo tambien ha habido diferentes facciones donde no hubo y hay echos de violencia como las subculturas en el Escocia y el norte de Inglaterra.

El movimiento en un principio no tuvo nada que ver con la politica, pero alrededor de 1970, algunas facciones de skinhead blancos se asociaron con los Partidos Nacionalistas, donde la motivacion racial se volvio un eje politico y de ahi fue donde comenzaron los problemas ya que el movimiento sigue siendo asociado mas con el odio racias y sexual que con el movimiento punk y ska que tuvo en un principio. Entonces, ¿seria traicion a su herencia cultural? a ¿Un Colombiano asociandose con este movimiento?, especialmente a un Colombiano negro. No lo se, por eso como dije previamente, me encantaria estar en Colombia para investigar a fondo la base y origen del movimiento que hay en el pais, ya que ultimamente en las noticias lo hay estan enfocando son las facciones motivadas por xenofobia.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where is the Freedom, Justice, Hope, Equality and Prosperity for All?

Freedom is not free, that's a fact, but argument that war is an option, the only option there you have something wrong in your life; We are all equal, but if you are not a white, Christian, straight, man then you are not equal, that's equality, only for a few but not for the majority; if you are a woman, still in many places thinking about prosperity if you are independent is not an option because there is not a man behind you to tell you that woman are not independent and according to our grandparents and the dogma, woman are to serve the man, again, wrong, still in this century, more than a thousand years, more than 4 millennium where humans rise we still think that men are the only ones who are the ruler of the world, or as it was say in All About my Mother between the conversation of Manuela and Sister Maria Rosa; "Women will do anything to avoid being alone" "Women are more tolerant, but that's good." when they were discussing about men. Justice, sounds more of a superhero name rather than an actual right, there is no justice, there is rarely justice because every day, basic rights are violated but yet there is still hope. For some weird reason, Hope never dies.


I've been wondering, if it's OK to interpose a religious regime?, if it's OK to put on a side the democracy, the main principles on what this country it's based. It's not OK to violate the idea that we are multicultural/ heterogeneous nation and yet the idea that everyone should be again on the 1950's ideal where everyone is white, straight, Christian and if you are a woman your voice is only on the kitchen and if you are black or any other minority you should be as a maid or servant is being present on the G.O.P. ideals where the common majority don't show a respect of any human beings if they don't fit on the ideals of what America should be. As a Hispanic I am not putting my vote on Romney, or any other politician that represent what he represent. A corruption in a political party, yet Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani showed a different face of the G.O.P. way too different of the one showed by the loonatics as Romney, Bachmann and Santorum.

We as a country we have evolved way too much, yet we are seeking a regression, it could a political trend if we analyze the international politics around the continent where more populist and charismatic leaders are taking control of different nations with the same promise of going back to the basics but instead the destroy every process of democracy and civil rights. Are we as people o retrograde to see beyond our little bubbles?. Probably, maybe we are but also we are a frightful and primitive species where we as masses we can be manipulated to think beyond the progress we had made as a collective because we would like to live in an ideal utopia and there is no such thing, we can get all these values if we work toward the prosperity we deserve and not different factions that live under the same soil.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Los Dias Oscuros de Nuestra Patria


Con el atentado en Bogotá, me he preguntado ¿Porque hay tanto odio entre nosotros mismos?. Somos Colombianos, pero siempre nos hacemos daño. Me da tanto pesar ver como a diario suceden eventos terribles como el que sucedió ayer en Bogotá. Algunos culparían a unos pocos, yo no sería una diferencia, esos pocos que perturbaron la paz son la gente que está buscando sembrar el caos, ellos también son Colombianos, y aun así no les importa herir a sus propios hermanos. Es lamentable la violencia, pero es más lamentable que la gente inocente siempre este en el medio. Soy un hipócrita, me estoy quejando y no estoy haciendo nada, estoy muy lejos como para ir hacer un cambio y si estuviera en el territorio no sería rara que me trataran de matar por irrumpir el statu-quo; que es lo que pasa con la gente que quiere hacer algo bueno, de pronto ese es el problema; los días oscuros están porque realmente es difícil realizar un cambio ante un país que ha puesto en el imaginario colectivo una violencia que es casi absoluta. Ojala que el dia que pueda volver a Colombia, no haya mas ningún tipo de terrorismo, que sea el sitio ideal para vivir que alguna vez fue y mis más sinceras condolencias para las familias de las víctimas.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Between the Break-room and Aisle One

I've been in the United States for three years and five months; one of the two most difficult things that any foreigner could do is to find a job and find friends. I am friendly but not sociable; so when I got a part time job in a local super-market that I am not going to mention by name and eventually I got transferred to my current store, things started to become easy, but yet if it wasn't for my necessity to move on and for the people that I work with that make the work easy and enjoyable I probably would be back in Colombia. I started to make friends slowly, people who I work with and also I could hang outside work without talking about it; I don't really get along with people and I have issues trusting individuals, but when I become friends with someone and I truly get along with the person, I am friends for life. I guess life is short or long, depending on how you look it. Nate, I am still in denial that you are gone from this Earthly plane; When, I read the post on Donovon's wall, I almost reply, Nate that's cruel, you are still young but then I read Zach's and Anthony, then I read Misty's and John-Michael, then I realized it was real, it is real; I am still in denial, it's one of those situations where I am in denial as many, that you are going to appear next week to buy groceries and pay everyone a visit or read your crazy shenanigans on Facebook.

I always remember how easy you made working there, how much tolerable you made the cleaning / blocking nights by fooling around with everyone and I enjoyed a lot when I had my breaks next to you because I knew I could laugh my ass until I couldn't do it anymore, where anyone regarding who ever he or she was was going to be in the middle of a storms of jokes who weren't for someone with an easy sensitive. It was a simple way to pass by the long hours where the future never seemed to come as well the punch time to get out. I know I can be very sensible regarding my voice and my accent, to the point I placed complains against many people but I never minded when you joked around or when I did it back to you; or when you, me and Chad we fooled around and we didn't do nothing and we started to tease every single person who closed that night. I don't think  we'll ever joke again on the store on that level, or that I can do it on a personal level with someone else while working there. We will see each other one day, I hope so.

Adam Baranello - Your Love Makes

I always love independent musicians; Adam Baranello and Gail Benevente represent much of what I believe in quality independent production but also two individuals who are in love with each other and that enjoy doing what they do. Watch this lovely video, to see the message of the song Your Love Makes.

Jay Arseno, Right Here

This is one of the many reasons I do enjoy searching on Youtube different and independent artists and musicians. I hope you enjoy Jay Arseno song Right Here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let's Talk This Clear

Equality 
OK, you and me let's talk this clear, hate is such a strong word, that first thing; second, the world is more complex than what you see in church or the four streets of your neighborhood; and third people are not exactly like you, they are equal and if they were exactly like you then the world would be a boring place where there are no differences. We are humans and by default we should be equal, because we are equal and those little differences are what they make us humans; but then when fear and intolerance comes because someone who is different appear in your life and you realize the world is not as exactly as your parents told you then you will be starting acting like a bigot if you don't surpass the idea that we are different, or maybe you can realize it and see how wonderful and complex humanity is.

Let's talk this clear, you are not going to be less macho, break the stereotype first for reading poetry; you are not going to be less of a man if you can with your woman to a shopping trip; you are not going to be less of a man if you enjoy arts and ballet, you will be less of a man if you promote hate toward people because they are different. Let's talk this clear, you are not going to be less Christian if you live your life beyond the principles of your religion, you are going to be just a mere fanboy if you decide to use the Good Book to incite hate and wars, you are going to be who you profess if you see the message of the Bible as simple and clear, a message of love, brotherhood and equality, but yet if you decide to use the good word to spread hate, you have to be aware that the world will be behind you, because you are just a player hater.

Why to hate?. Are you scared to face world?. Maybe you are just immature, as simple as that. Are you scared of yourself? And maybe because you are scared of yourself you don't want other people to be happy?. Let's be real, no matter what, there is only one chance to live , and you are not going to be less if you decide to live true to yourself, you are going to be less if you are going to spend hating humanity because they don't think like you.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jay Arseno - Take it From the Ashes

Jay Arseno (Photo By Brian Gilliaux)
So navigating through the internet I stumble by a mere accident into a guy named Jonathan music profile, I don't even remember what song I was looking for but it was one of those lucky days where I stumble into a profile of an independent musician that I truly enjoyed and his voice is quite interesting and his songs are quite unique. After a few days I found his artist page on Facebook and from there, there were his songs were on the Soundcloud system but also they are in the I-tunes. The song that catch my attention was Take it From the Ashes which lyrically is quite cool and people can related to his experiences about alienation during the discovery years of high school and life. To listen the songs in Souncloud you have to be subscribed or just link you Facebook to the sound system. I hope you all enjoy Jay's music. 

Scot Wisniewski - I Dream a Dream

I really like Scot's voice, it's smooth, powerful and he can sing extremely well. Here is a clip from his Youtube Channel, a male cover of the song I Dream a Dream.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Conversations about Love Between two Frustrated Writers of Cartagena: Gus and Daniela

Daniela
Some people say that every writer has a muse; but what if every writer has a writer as a muse?. As an enigmatic figure who always spark the best conversation that also inspire the best topics. I don't know why, from all the people, Daniela is my muse and also my soul mate in the literary world. From all the people from all my relatives, the one I can always associate the best conversations who were about love and despair was Daniela, I even treasure our last conversation, my see you later party who was improvised and how we spoke about everything. What I could tell to Danny after many years, when I go back to Cartagena?, to the other tortured soul of the letters who saw life in a similar fashion as my own point of views?

Maybe love doesn't suck that much and it's still a big carajo much of the time, but it's quite complex as you told me many years ago, but at the end maybe you were right, solitude is always behind us. I always wondered how someone as young knew way too much, then I realize it, by living. I was missing that point, living, probably being too sheltered and finding the first thing I could get. That's the point every writer to live and to tell, as Garcia Marquez said a few times during his life time. But Danny, are we destined to be alone? even if we have company? even if we aren't single? Is there a curse that almost every writer has to suffer? Loneliness, because we see the world as no one else, because we see the world in such unique way. Maybe. Maybe we are tragic figures because we are not afraid to love, but maybe we are scared of loneliness?.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Entre Motos y Locos


Díganme "miserable" pero voy hacer franco con esto, 1) Los Tailandeses tienen la culpa de este fenómeno, el mototaxismo se origina entre Tailandia e India alrededor de principio de los años 90. 2) Los Barranquilleros y los Cordobeses tienen la culpa de que algún inescrupuloso se le diera por imitar a estos retrogradas de Asia. 3) La ciudadanía tiene la culpa porque en vez de buscar el orden se les da por validar cualquier idiotez como lo cotidiano y 4) Usar la excusa de que la situación esta difícil para arriesgar sus vidas por unos cuantos míseros pesos, es una falacia que recae en porque la ciudadanía tiene la culpa de no llevar las riendas de la nacion y dejarla en manos de unos pocos miserables que lo que van es hacer negocio con la politica. Esa es la triste realidad de que entre motos y locos vivimos los Cartageneros y al mismo tiempo los Colombianos. El mototaxismo no es una solución, es una plaga donde uno lo sitúe, no saca de la desesperación porque de 400 pesos en 400 pesos lo que es una carrera se les va la plata en gasolina.

La cultura del desorden tratando de buscar un orden, jamás se verá al menos que la mentalidad del pueblo cambie por completo, realmente es incomodo salir a las calles y ver el pocotón de motos y buses que no respetan las vías, es incomodo ver las motos y vehículos como las carretas invadiendo espacios públicos que son destinados exclusivamente para los peatones.