For spiritual seekers only
Salvia divinorum is related to the mint family, as stated in your article (NOW, April 1-7), but the fact that it is actually part of the sage family, which also includes the common Salvia officinalis, was forgotten. I tried salvia once. My experience was quite pleasant, but I understand how this particular drug brings a wide range of results to different people, more so than most other hallucinogens.
Not one of Benjamin Boles's eight test subjects reported a spiritual awakening, probably because it was taken with the wrong intentions. These plants only act as a catalyst for the spiritual seeker, adding an aspect of enlightenment to an already journeyed mind. Maybe this is why Redgreenvines could not find any "souvenirs" to bring back to reality.
Trip its own reward
Benjamin Boles asks: what's the use of looking for enlightenment if you can't remember its secrets when you find it? A famous poet named Rumi once said, "Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment." Even if you can't "use" insights you bring back from a psychedelic trip (although my experience has been the opposite), the act of prostrating yourself before the great mystery is in itself the reward. Scott Burke
Frankly, I am getting bored with NOW's being so painfully left wing and supporting wholeheartedly whatever is presumed to be cool. For example, your visual feature Skater Haters (NOW, April 1-7). I have been into skateboarding for a long time, and the point you made about Toronto needing a skate park is valid. But don't go bashing the financial area because the suits don't like skateboarders. Is it wrong for people to not want their property ruined? Quit being so biased and one-sided for once. Just because you're against the corporate machine doesn't mean people don't have the right to deter others from wrecking their property.
Thanks for giving another high five to something else that's cool so hipsters will like you.
RE Ken Jendruska's Fly Boy (NOW, April 1-7). Wow. I'd heard of this botfly business before but never read eyewitness testimony as vivid (shudder) as this. Well done! I just wanted to mention that scratching the bite is what causes the botfly eggs to "somehow find their way into the tiny puncture made by the mosquito's bite." The eggs themselves drop off the mosquito (or whatever other critter is doing the biting) and into the open wound for incubation.
Monika de Savoye
"Deal" not so sweet
My Friend and I dashed through the rain this evening to attend an event advertised in your Life & Style Sweet Deals section (NOW, April 1-7). It was to be a celebration of Girl Friday's second anniversary at their College Street location. "Celebrate the boutique's second anniversary with special discounts, champagne, cupcakes and a chance to win a $300 gift certificate" was what the event listing read. What fun!
We arrived (nattily dressed and clean!) and were curtly told, when we politely inquired how we could enter the draw, that "the contest is only open to the person who arrives dressed in the most Girl Friday clothing!"
We were left to wonder if this was a private function we'd inadvertently crashed.
I am a costume designer in one of Toronto's film unions and will not be in a rush to return to Girl Friday, nor will I be recommending it to any of my employees when buying clothing for my next contemporary production.
Question of influence
What is wrong with wondering if the disproportionate number of Jews involved in U.S. foreign policy are pushing it to where it maybe should not be (NOW, March 18-24)? The result of said wondering might turn up that things are completely kosher and there is no undue influence and Israel really is more important to Americans and the world than parts of Africa or North Korea or Central America or Kashmir. But not looking at why the U.S. has so much interest in Israel is irresponsible. It's akin to Montreal's Le Devoir making a list of Canadian policy-makers and stating the obvious, that most are WASP men who may be steering a little too much toward white/anglo issues. There's nothing inherently wrong with asking.
Bush's mother of a war
RE Doing A Number On Iraq (now, March 25-31). As the nightmare in Iraq continues, it is clear that George Bush's war is the mother of all quagmires.
Barking up a storm
Just read your review of Dogville (NOW, April 1-7) and have to wonder if your reviewer saw the same film I did. It's understandable that people will have varying opinions about the movie, but what piqued my interest was the statement: "...the invisible dog who never barks until the end of the film."
The dog actually barks in three sections of the film: first to note Grace's first appearance in Dogville (she steals his bone), second when she's returned to the town in the apple cart (the bark is what alerts her to the fact that she's in Dogville, and Hurt's narration even comments on it), and third at film's end, which seems to be the time that woke you up.
Mt. Morgan impresses
RE Glenn Sumi's review of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (NOW, March 25-31). I had a chance to see this play recently and enjoyed it very much. Everything was superb, from decor onstage to the actors who very vividly presented the play's characters. I was very impressed. It is clear to me after reading Sumi's review that he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. He obviously failed to understand the meaning and message of this great play. In future, I hope to see some better writers in your paper who are true professionals, unlike Glenn Sumi, who obviously isn't.
RE Sarah Liss's review of Andre Ethier with Christopher Sandes featuring Pickles and Price (NOW, March 25-31.) A good first effort, my ass. Anyone who uses that kind of denigrating clichéd goo to cap off her review obviously isn't familiar with Eighthrib's 1994 debut album featuring Face Full of Knuckle. She obviously isn't listening to the music either.
Who cares which effort this is? It's a fucking stand-up, stand-alone record from a group of kick-ass musicians. It deserves to be reviewed by someone who listens to the music - and knows how to talk about it - not someone who grades a musician by the number of notches on his belt.
Bike guy's advice unsafe
The analysis and advice on bike lanes offered in your letters column by CANBIKE instructor Ray Breuker (NOW, April 1-7) seems to me wrong and dangerous. Breuker counsels bikes to move to their left, out of the bike lane, and ride between the cars [at intersections].
The cars Breuker sees stopped to allow bicyclists to pass are doing what the law requires: they are staying in their own lane until it is safe to change into a new lane, one that, as a designated lane, they have no right to remain in but may only pass through in the course of making a turn.
The traffic delays this produces are trivial and only occur on a few roads at a few times of day. The dangers to cyclists passing through this gap are real, but less than if they move from where motorists expect to see them (on the right, by the curb) to where they are unexpected. Advice like Breuker's will lead some bicyclists to scoot down the middle while the rest stay at the curb, and everyone gets confused, angry and unsafe.
Local biz not sold on Watson
Don Wanagas gave councillor Sylvia Watson an "A" rating among rookie councillors (NOW, March 11-17). The same Councillor Watson has been "forced" to call a community meeting to discuss an amendment she's tabled regarding a proposed Nexxt Development Corporation & NRI Incorporated development. Her amendment has infuriated local residents and business groups. Interestingly, the community is on the developer's side on this one.
You might like to come out and cover why her constituents (residential and commercial) would be considerably less generous in rating Councillor Watson's performance so far.
Chair, Junction BIA
Kado knock long overdue
RE Brave New Waves 20th anniversary review by Elizabeth Bromstein (NOW, March 25-31). Can't help but say it's pretty clumsy to write a review about a show and neglect to even mention the headlining act(s). All's forgiven, though, for voicing a long-overdue counter-Kado opinion.
Pesticide promise broken
Although I applaud city councillors for supporting a pesticide bylaw in the face of relentless pressure from corporate interests, a return to pesticide use on sports fields, as proposed in the recommendations recently passed at the board of health, is a significant step backwards (NOW, February 26-March 3). Other municipalities have managed to meet their goal of zero pesticide use on public green space, most notably Waterloo. With pesticide use at zero, that city has increased green space and reduced its budget. Let's increase naturalized areas in city parks and add irrigation systems to sports fields.
It is unacceptable to deliberately expose anyone to suspected and known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Pesticide Free Ontario, Toronto