Green Versus Brown

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Although both marijuana and tobacco smoke are packed with cancer-causing chemicals, other qualities of marijuana seem to keep it from promoting lung cancer, according to a new report. In the latest issue of Harm Reduction Journal, Dr. Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs says that the difference rests in the often opposing actions of the nicotine in tobacco and the active ingredient, THC, in marijuana.

After the jump, read the entire article which I grabbed in case it goes bye-bye. I know a few people who are going to be very excited to hear about this bit o’ news.

Via Phyll

Smoking pot not a major cancer risk: report

Reuters Health

October 26, 2005 09:04:12 AM PST

Although both marijuana and tobacco smoke are packed with cancer-causing chemicals, other qualities of marijuana seem to keep it from promoting lung cancer, according to a new report.

The difference rests in the often opposing actions of the nicotine in tobacco and the active ingredient, THC, in marijuana, says Dr. Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
He reviewed the scientific evidence supporting this contention in a recent issue of Harm Reduction Journal.

Whereas nicotine has several effects that promote lung and other types of cancer, THC acts in ways that counter the cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana smoke, Melamede explained in an interview with Reuters Health.

“THC turns down the carcinogenic potential,” he said.

For example, lab research indicates that nicotine activates a body enzyme that converts certain chemicals in both tobacco and marijuana smoke into cancer-promoting form. In contrast, studies in mice suggest that THC blocks this enzyme activity.

Another key difference, Melamede said, is in the immune system effects of tobacco and marijuana. Smoke sends irritants into the respiratory system that trigger an immune-regulated inflammatory response, which involves the generation of potentially cell-damaging substances called free radicals. These particles are believed to contribute to a range of diseases, including cancer.

But cannabinoids — both those found in marijuana and the versions found naturally in the body — have been shown to dial down this inflammatory response, Melamede explained.

Another difference between tobacco and marijuana smoking, he said, has to do with cells that line the respiratory tract. While these cells have receptors that act as docks for nicotine, similar receptors for THC and other cannabinoids have not been found.

Nicotine, Melamede said, appears to keep these cells from committing “suicide” when they are genetically damaged, by smoking, for instance. When such cells do not kill themselves off, they are free to progress into tumors.

THC, however, does not appear to act this way in the respiratory tract — though, in the brain, where there are cannabinoid receptors, it may have the beneficial effect of protecting cells from death when they are damaged from an injury or stroke, according to Melamede.

All of this, he said, fits in with population studies that have failed to link marijuana smoking with a higher risk of lung cancer — though there is evidence that pot users have more respiratory problems, such as chronic cough and frequent respiratory infections.

If marijuana does not promote lung cancer, that could factor into the ongoing debate over so-called medical marijuana. Melamede said he believes “marijuana has loads of medicinal value,” for everything from multiple sclerosis, to the chronic pain of arthritis, to nausea caused by cancer treatment.

U.S. government officials, however, maintain that the evidence for medical marijuana is not there. Ten states allow people to use marijuana with a doctor’s prescription, but the Supreme Court has ruled that federal law trumps state law.

SOURCE: Harm Reduction Journal, October 18, 2005.


Alaska: B4UDIE

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Below is a photo of the great state of Alaska’s new advertising campaign:

You read it correctly. Its theme is “Get here before you die. Because if you don’t, you’re going to kick yourself. Except you won’t be able to, because you’re dead. But you know what we mean.” The site is alaskab4udie.com. I guess when you have a small ad budget, you’ve got to break through the clutter.

King and Marvel Join Forces To Launch Dark Tower Comic

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Stephen King breaks new ground at Marvel with original comic series based on his epic “The Dark Tower.” Marvel Comics to launch first issue in April 2006. Premium hard cover collection of the first six issues to be released in Holiday 2006.

The following copy is a combination from Marvel.com’s release:

New Comic Series Exploring the Origin of the Notorious Gunslinger Character Marks First Time Stephen King Has Produced Original Content for the Comic Book Format.

NEW YORK: World Fantasy Award-winning writer Stephen King, long acknowledged as the master of modern horror, and Marvel Comics join forces this spring to launch a ground-breaking new comic book series adapted from King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower.

The comic series will mark the first time Stephen King has produced original content for an ongoing comic book project. The series will expand the saga of King’s epic hero, Roland Deschain, whose quest to save the Dark Tower is captured in seven best-selling novels published over the course of twenty-five years. King’s unparalleled storytelling power will inform new stories that delve into the life and times of the young Roland, revealing the trials and conflicts that lead to the burden of destiny he must assume as a man, the last Gunslinger from a world that has moved on. The comics will work in conjunction with the novels, further supplementing and defining the saga’s mythology under the direction of the acclaimed author himself.

“As a lifelong fan of Marvel comic books, and as an adult reader who’s seen comics “come of age” and take their rightful place in the world of fantasy and science fiction, I’m excited to be a part of Roland’s new incarnation,” said Stephen King.

The series will be illustrated by Eisner-award winning artist Jae Lee.

King continued, “I love Jae Lee’s work, and I think this is going to be a dynamite partnership. Frankly, I can’t wait.”

The first issue is scheduled to debut in April, 2006 with a hard cover collection of the first 6 issues released Holiday, 2006. Fans will start seeing promotional items, which feature more info in the series, beginning this December. Watch for more info as it becomes available at www.marvel.com/king.
Um, is it April 2006 yet?! I can’t wait!


Bomb Scare

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Nothing like a bomb scare and a suspicious package being detonated downstairs to start the morning off right. I wanted to work so badly today that I found a way into my building (through the messenger entrance on 40th street) when access to the main entrance was shut off by the NYPD. Read all about it on Chris’s site – you won’t find it anywhere else (at least not yet).


Misuse of Language

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In an article in today’s NY Times, there is a quote in reference to Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination that she has “a tough road to hoe.” To me, it is impossible to “hoe” a “road” unless you are prostituting yourself. Other words like trick and john come to mind as well. While the original saying “A tough row to hoe” makes sense from a gardening perspective, the way it is currently being used is flat out wrong and should be stopped.


The Co-bear Ra-pour

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The Colbert Report (pronounced Co-bear Ra-pour) debuted last night on Comedy Central and simply put it was hilarious. It is a total send up of the O’Reilly Factor and I was amazed at how Steven Colbert was able to keep a straight face for the full 30 minutes, especially when Stone Phillips was flat-out cracking up during the “Gravitas Battle” towards the end of the show. During this segment, they went back and forth, reading increasingly more ridiculous bits of new while speaking in the pompously grave anchor voice that I know and simultaneously love and loath. In a spirit of full disclosure, this anchor also has the body piercing in question. You know, that sort of thing.

Due to the fact that I am such a huge fan of “The Daily Show,” I was critically evaluating the show from start to finish and everything, from the American flag draped with requisite soaring eagle opening credits to the desk shaped in a big “C” to Mr. Colbert’s sheer over-the-topness (a term he would love), was great. As long as they didn’t blow all their good jokes in the first show, I am looking forward to a formidable 1-2 punch from Comedy Central between 11 and 12 from now on. Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn was tough to watch and I’m glad it’s gone. He wasn’t that funny and his guests were even more unfunny. Ah, unfunny – a word Mr. Colbert would love. If you decide to tune in, let me know what you think.



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I have not been writing frequently lately (I think I’m averaging once a week), which I blame on the Jewish New Year. For 2 weeks each September or October, I shuttle back and forth from work to Long Island to New Jersey to Manhattan and back again (though not necessarily in that order). This usually leaves me spinning as I struggle to handle my responsibilities and be observant at the same time. When you throw in a trip to sunny Florida for 3 days in between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur (which I did this year), it creates a post vacuum. I’ve now turned the vacuum from suck to blow though so look for an increase in activity from this point forward. To start off the year 5766 nicely, here are some random tidbits for you:

Fortune of the day: Man who believes fortune from cookies factory believes in everything.

News of the day: Chewbacca is now an American Citizen.

Song of the day: Baton Rouge by Lou Reed.

Program of the day: Konfabulator, which is whatever you want it to be. Widgets rule!

Pic of the day: My puppy Bingham, a Shih Tzu who only looks like an Ewok:


Aarman Studios, home of Wallace and Gromit, has burnt down

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Unfortunately, this is true: The roof and three interior walls of the Aardman Animations building in Bristol, west England collapsed after a blaze tore through the Victorian building. The company behind the new “Wallace and Gromit” film said Monday its “entire history” has been destroyed in a fire at a warehouse containing props and sets.

This is very sad news for a great company founded and run by some great artists. That being said, Wallace and Gromit’s creator, Nick Park, said the earthquake in South Asia helped put the loss into perspective. “Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of other tragedies, today isn’t a big deal,” he said.

I would say that having your entire professional creative life wiped out is a big deal, earthquake or no earthquake. Its okay to be very upset, earthquake or no earthquake. What really matters is the proverbial “where do you go from here?” and it looks as if Mr. Park will not let this loss consume him which is good, especially for those who hope to see more W&G in the future.


The DeStefano Mona Show

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In the middle of last Tuesday’s show, I snapped a picture of George DeStefano (right) talking to close friend Gary Drewes (left) about the mythic corner paintings.

Go to Flickr and check out the rest of my photos from George DeStefano’s recent NYC art exhibition.