Friday, March 27, 2009

Marijuana Kills!

LOL! Yeah, haven't we all seen the film Reefer Madness?

Lately, the anti-marijuana ads have gotten a little more, well, hip.

However, both of these films miss the point, because whether grass is a gateway drug or a harmless pasttime, and whether it should be illegal or treated just the same as alcohol are all academic exercises or merely simply excuses to continue current behavior because, save for medical purposes in a few places, marijuana is illegal and, as such, the use of it promotes criminal behavior. (Note: I said "criminal" behavior not "deviant" behavior and not "shiftless" behavior.)

With Sec. of State Clinton, now and for the first time I am aware of, shouldering part of the blame for the criminal insurgent activity in Mexico, one of our sister countries, we see that we are, indeed, our brother's keeper and our desire for illegal drugs has spawned a spree of killing on a scale that greatly exceeds even that of the days of Prohibition.

It is important to note that not all of the killings are "bad on bad." Honest policemen, journalists, judges, and politicians have been brutally murdered, sometimes in front of their families.

Illegal drugs are, in many ways, a commodity. They will be supplied at whatever cost the traffic will bear. Sadly, this cost comes not only in the loss of lives and law and order south of the border, it is increasingly clear that it will also carry a greater human cost in our own country. The last, that we will suffer the results of our demand for illegal drugs, does not supercede the first, the pain and misery to our neighbor.

I'm sure there are those who will say, "Hey! MY grass comes from California. I'M not contributing to the killing. However, again, it is clear that the drug cartels are also shouldering their way onto our native soil in areas of production, as well as distribution.

There are others who will say that there is no need for them to put down their favorite vehicle of escape because there are far worse drugs coming across the border and that we need to deal with those serious drugs first. They are absolutely that there are far worse drugs. They are wrong in that there is no need for them to change. If they can justify their behavior with an illegal, non-addictive drug, how can they expect others who are actually addicted to more serious drugs to quit.

I'm no prude. I know, personally, the pleasurable effects of marijuana, having experimented with it many, many years ago. However, my break with it came because I work up one morning, way before the making of the movie Traffic and other films in which the world behind-the-scenes of drugs was illuminated, with an epiphany that my money spent for my fun fostered evilness.

Ultimately, especially during the moment of a relaxing, completely enjoyable, shared high, a look around the circle of close acquaintances tells you how happy you are for such company. At that same moment, in another place of the world not far away, there are those who look around their circle of teary-eyed friends and they are thankful for their support during the mourning for their dead son, father, brother, cousin who lost his life while trying to maintain some sense of law and order in a world gone crazy.

Push for all the legislation you wish to legalize marijuana, but in the meantime think of John Donne, whose message in MEDITATION XVII I shall rephrase to say...any man's loss is our loss.

Mike Sledge

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Advice to the Younger Woman

OK, I'm an old hat. I admit it...been around long enough to have stains and bends in my brim. And, of course, women have aged along with me.

At this point in our lives, the effects of sun exposure on are becoming very apparent. We're talking breakdown of collagen, wrinkles, spots, blemishes, other markings.

Beautiful skin, sadly, even begins to look like leather...and not the expensive supple of calfskin gloves. Rather, we're talking old work gloves that have lain out in the sun and are now hard and lined with crevasses. For them, it's too late.

I won't go into the litany of skin cancers and such that are so common with overexposure: these risks are known to all. Instead, I want to speak straight to two issues: Vanity, and the "I'll never get old" fallacy.

First, yes, a tan DOES look good. Somehow we've become indoctrinated to feel this way. However, we have a BRAIN that is supposed to work., it doesn't work all the time, does it? Like, "OHMIGOD, I can't believe I did X with him! I MUST have been DRUNK!"

Second, yes, you WILL get older. Or die. You must try, as hard as it is, to imagine yourself 40 or 50 or older. (Trust me, older women are sexy...BUT NOT if they look like this:

So, girls and young ladies, lie out in the sun all you want, but use the screen that protects against ALL UV. Get a tan now and then if you must, but please, please, please try to think ahead and protect your natural beauty.

Or, you can end up with your skin looking like this:

Mike Sledge

Photo licenses at:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Book Review of The Shack ...Traditional Christianity Cross Dressing


The Shack by William P. Young has made it to the bestseller list. After reading it, I wonder "Why?" and I answer myself with, "Ah, yes, I see!"

This book (it doesn't even rise to the level of a "novel" even by romance novel standards) is, in essence, a syncretic blend of Traditional Christianity, New Age Spiritualism, and World Spiritualism. However, let there be little doubt that the New Age/World Spirituality aspects are but the spices in a meat-and-potatoes stew of the typical Christian views of God, humankind, and how the roles of the two interact.

As I read it, I was struck with the parallel between it and the theme of how fundamentalist Christians have used the Intelligent Design Theory as a back door method of introducing Creationism into a science classroom. For more on Intelligent Design Crossdressing, go to

There is a distinction, though, between the proponents of introducing Intelligent Design into the classroom (former President Bush was one) and Author Young: that is, Young is not trying to push an agenda...he is simply a writer who has penned what I would call an "inspirational fictional Christian memoir." It should do well in a Christian Bookstore. That it appears on the Bestseller list is, to say the least, disturbing.

However, let's talk about the book.

In The Shack, a man loses a young daughter to a serial child killer. Her body is not found. (Not initially, that is.) The father and another daughter who feels responsible for Missy's disappearance and death are saddled with guilt over the loss. The father is also afflicted with The Great Sadness.

The father, Mackenzie (Mack), gets a mysterious non-postmarked letter in his mailbox that tells him to go to "the shack", the place where his daughter was murdered. Upon his initial arrival, Mack grieves while viewing the bloodstains on the wood floor and contemplates suicide. Then, predictably, he falls into a slumber. He soon, presumably, awakens, feeling forsaken, "I'm done, God...I can't do this anymore. I'm tired of trying to find you in all of this." Mack goes to leave the shack, but on his trek back to his vehicle the cold winter is suddenly replaced with a "sudden rush of warm air", "The chirping of a songbird" and so on. (You get the picture, right?)

He turns back to the shack and finds that it has been transformed into a beautiful cottage on the lake. He returns to it and, inside, finds God in all three manifestations: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. But, God is personified as a black woman, presumably to overturn a White God Male stereotype that Mack holds. (Do I need to continue?)

Anyway, Mack walks and talks with God in all three forms. As he does, he learns the meaning of man's control over his destiny, God's role as one who sees and knows but refuses to intervene in daily details (oh, that is interesting...then why did God come to Mack?), and the futility of man's trying to live without God. Ultimately, Mack meets his daughter Missy in the other-world (Heaven?) and knows that she is fine. God assures Mack that throughout her abduction and murder that Missy was never alone.

And--now here's the crossdressing part--Father/Son/Holy Ghost assure Mack that there is not one road to them, but that they will travel all roads to those who believe. Oh, yes, Jesus (he's a carpenter by the way) insists that he is not a Christian.

Eventually, Mack is cured of The Great Sadness and given the choice of staying with the Holy Trinity or returning to the world. Since his wife and children, especially Kate, the daughter who feels responsible for the tragedy, need him, Mack decides to return. On the way back home, he is in a terrible car accident.

Mack is in a coma, from which it takes days to awaken...and it is weeks before he is out of the hospital. Mack learns that the car accident occurred on a Friday, the day he left home for the shack, and not several days later as time had transpired while he was in the presence of the Trinity.

During his recovery, Mack tells Kate that she is not responsbile for Missy's death. Apparently, Mack's verbalization is the first time it occurred to anyone to talk to Kate about her was "...a secret."

After his release from the hospital, Mack leads the police to the place where Missy's body has been secluded this whole time. The police obtain enough evidence to find the bodies of the other murdered girls and arrest the killer.

End Of Story.

Of course, I'm leaving out the parts where Mack walked across the surface of the lake (possible only if Jesus was by his side), where the Holy Spirit manifestation was nebulous, a-shimmer with lights, how Mack had trouble seeing the Trinity through the radianting brilliance of God said that his/her handing down of the Ten Commandments was not to show how to lead a good life, but that all were doomed unless they had God. (Think "Original Sin").

Now, don't get me wrong. This book was on the Bestseller list. Is that scary? To me it is. Am I cynical? Well, let's just say that I am highly spiritual and I try to be as literate as possible. That such a story (it IS a cute story) can sneak out of the Christian Bookstore and into the general market should tell me something. I need to pay attention to what that says, just as the Conservatives need to pay attention to why there was such an overwhelming move toward Obama in the last election: to reword, "I don't understand it but I need to pay attention to this."

Mike Sledge