Application for President of the University of Minnesota

Dear Search Committee for a new President of the University of Minnesota,

We are pleased to learn of the need for a new President of the University of Minnesota.  We believe we are most qualified candidates, especially the two of us together.  We love students and we love Minnesota having lived, trained and worked here for over 15 years.  Please consider this application for President of the University of Minnesota.  We are offering two most qualified individuals for less than the past prices of only one.

Although Dr. Klug loves his current job, he believes that being President of the University of Minnesota along with Dr. Kube would enable him to help even more students succeed which, ultimately, marks the success of their school.  We see endless opportunity and limitless potential.

With us, you do not have to choose between a male or female candidate, or between a candidate with an academic versus an industry background.  Both individually as well as together, we have academic research and teaching successes as well as successes working in industry.  Dr. Klug’s curriculum vitae can be read at: https://myspiritualconnection.org/2018/04/09/michael-klug-curriculum-vitae/ and Dr. Kube’s curriculum vitae can be read at: https://myspiritualconnection.org/2018/01/20/marie-kube-curriculum-vitae/ .  Dr. Klug’s work earning his Ph.D. degree in physiology in the 1990’s paved the way for current stem cell therapies.  He has taught in the biology and biotechnology departments at Minneapolis Community and Technical College for almost ten years now (https://myspiritualconnection.org/2018/07/07/outstanding-educator/ ).  In the Minnesota State system, Minneapolis Community and Technical College is the most diverse.  Before that, his work at the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization gave him familiarity with the University’s professors, science and technologies as well as business practices while building on his experiences at the Mayo Clinic and at F. Hoffman-La Roche in Basel, Switzerland.  We know a lot about commercialization of university research (https://myspiritualconnection.org/2016/12/07/commercialization-of-university-research/ ), and Dr. Kube is even an experienced patent agent.  In the early 1990’s, she formulated the rapid-acting insulin product, Humalog®, that is on the market, still.

We have been trained and employed by Minnesota’s top institutions, like the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  We worked on the most cutting-edge priorities, such as the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics and commercialization of university research from intellectual property and licensing to starting biotechnology companies and educational programs.  Both of our projects working in Switzerland resulted in granted patents.  We both have published extensively, and Dr. Klug has even published in journals such as Science and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.  Even though hardly any scientists of our generation ever got their own laboratories or funding as we were promised, and even though we had to do all kinds of “alternative” careers that we never signed up for, all of that training along with the diversity of people we worked with in science, education, business and law made us the proven leaders of transformational change that we are.  And how can we succeed if the leaders do not lead?

After being the Director of Development for the promising drug company VitalMedix that was spun out of the University of Minnesota, it has taken a long time for Dr. Kube to get another job, exactly as predicted by the businessmen who laid her off.  This, they said, was because it takes longer for more senior people like Dr. Kube to find a suitable position.  That is why we are so excited to hear of this opportunity to lead the University of Minnesota into the new era.  Drs. Klug and Kube were married for more than 20 years and have now been divorced for more than two years, allowing them to serve together even more objectively while bringing together over a century of experience at the cutting-edge.  From the time they met, Drs. Klug and Kube have never stopped working together, no matter the personal hardships.

Dr. Kube tried hard to get a job the first couple of years after she was laid off.  Unemployment was demoralizing.  She started gardening and reading more about herbal medicines and spirituality.  She started writing what she wanted to write instead of what employers or clients or investors wanted her to say.  A couple of years ago she started blogging (www.art-and-smart.com and www.MySpiritualAssociation.com ) and publishing books and magazines herself.  Now she is working on zines (little magazines) and trying to become a vendor at zine fests and get her publications into more bookstores.  There have been a lot of positive outcomes.

Here are just a few examples of things we have been right about:

In the 1980’s, the baby boomers were put in charge for innovating.  When Generation X reached that same age, then “experience” was the requirement for the same position.  Now who is better to innovate and to attract students and money to the University of Minnesota and jobs and profits for the state of Minnesota?  As proven leaders of transformational change, our vision of the future school that will allow us all to best embrace the challenges of the future for Minnesota, the USA and the world follows:

Core Curricula of the New School in the New Economy
Departments (Necessities) Example Courses and Research Areas
Physical Water Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Medicine, Engineering (e.g., dams, filtration, irrigation), Environmental Science*
Food Sustainable Farming, Hunting, Gathering and Fishing, Medicine** (e.g., Human, Veterinary, Nutrition, Herbalism), Environmental Science*
Shelter Sustainable Production of Sustainable Construction Materials, Healthy Home Construction, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics
Clothing Sustainable Production of Sustainable Fibers, Engineering for Weaving and Sewing, Design (see Arts Department below)
Footwear Sustainable Farming (e.g., Plant fiber and Animal Husbandry), Engineering for Leather-making and Shoe-making, Design (see Arts Department below)
Spiritual Arts & Humanities Fitness and Well-Being (e.g., Dance, Martial Arts, Yoga, Personal Hygiene, Physical Therapy (e.g., gait analysis)), Drawing, Painting, Music, Singing, Writing (e.g., History, Philosophy), Design, Theater, Social Science***

*Environmental Science is used here to describe an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences including ecology, biology, physics, chemistry, zoology, mineralogy, oceanology, limnology, soil science, geology, atmospheric science, climatology, botany, astronomy and geodesy to the study of the environment and solutions to environmental problems.

** Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food, said Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

***Social Science is used here to describe an interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the study of society and the way people behave and influence the world around us (e.g., economics, politics, psychology, anthropology, sociology, ethnography).

Currently, we are working on finishing a report about PTSD that we have been working on for almost three years now as Dr. Kube is recovering from a severe case of PTSD and Dr. Klug is an expert in physiology.  Our personal experience surviving and recovering from this devastating condition has provided much insight that should help to make Minnesota a leader in PTSD research, funding, teaching and treatment.  Once the University of Minnesota is a leader, then its students will go on to lead others at other places.  We request accommodations for Dr. Kube and for everyone with PTSD.

If we are chosen for the position of President of the University of Minnesota, we look forward to engaging our community and hosting as many events at the Eastcliff mansion as possible, such as social dancing and gardening.  We will speak out and we will speak up to tell people the truth that is good, not necessarily what they want to hear.  We will foster intercultural development and diverse problem solving because none of us is as smart as all of us and the University of Minnesota should be a leading example of a democratic society.  We will engage in balanced and transparent deal-making with no hidden agendas, windfalls, renegotiating, reneging, etc. by either party.  We will focus on sustainability and that 5-10% growth every year long-term is not sustainable.  The same old answers and approaches are not working and are not going to work.  The only thing that doesn’t change is that things change.  Change is all we know because we are innovators always living on the cutting-edge.  We are ready for more.  Are you?

We believe in transparency and will post this application at https://myspiritualconnection.org/blog/ .  We wish you all the best in hiring the best candidate(s).  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Drs. Michael Klug and Marie Kube

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The Book Beat Bookstore

The Book Beat bookstore has Marie Kube’s books!

Dearest Readers,

The Book Beat bookstore has our books for sale now! Open since 1982, the Book Beat offers valuable African art along with the most progressive, forward-thinking publications. Please stop by the Book Beat and look for Marie Kube’s books in the local authors’ section under “K” for Kube. Our goal is to offer our books for sale at bookstores for the same price or much less than on amazon.com online. This is because I have a special understanding of the need for independent bookstores since my grandfather owned a bookstore in Berlin, Germany that was destroyed in World War II.

Please visit the Book Beat at:
26010 Greenfield Rd.
Oak Park, MI 48237
248 / 968-1190
http://www.thebookbeat.com

“An independent bookstore specializing in art, photography, & children’s books”

And if you are in the Chicago, Illinois area, then you can also find our books for sale at Quimby’s Bookstore (click here for more information).

Thank you for your support!

Love,
Marie

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Appeal of the Written Reprimand

July 26, 2018

To Whom It May Concern,

Dr. Michael Klug and Dr. Marie Kube are hereby appealing the written reprimand issued by the Vice President of Academic Affairs of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), dated July 2, 2018, with a carbon copy to “Michael Klug Personnel File” that can be viewed at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/michael-klug-letter-06282018.pdf . Please note that Dr. Marie Kube is incorrectly referred to as “Maria” in the written reprimand.

We are appealing the false accusations on which the written reprimand is based. We are innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the laws of the United States of America that govern us all. We have not done anything wrong. There is no evidence that we did anything wrong. In fact, we have both volunteered a lot of extra time to serve the college, especially for the biotechnology program that was shut down despite increasing enrollment and student demand that is still present. Further, we have already established our innocence, as detailed below.

The written reprimand claims that “allowing someone other than the faculty to assist in grading was a violation of College Policy 3.08, which states the “evaluation of a student’s performance is determined by the instructor of the course.””

In contrast to the false statements made in the written reprimand, Dr. Michael Klug, the instructor of the course, evaluated each student’s performance, in accordance with College Policy 3.08. Dr. Marie Kube volunteered her expertise to assist an overworked instructor in developing and implementing grading rubrics without sharing any private student data. For example, student names were covered with post-it notes, which is regarded as a current best practice in teaching because it is more objective. All of Dr. Kube’s work was reviewed and approved by Dr. Klug, who was responsible for evaluating each student’s performance.

Again, we both hereby attest that we never shared any private student data, so the second accusation made in the written reprimand is also false.

Dr. Kube was laid off in 2010 when the Minnesota biotechnology start-up company she was working for failed. The CEO paid himself with the investor’s money from the University of Minnesota start-up company and meanwhile did not pay the people or companies doing the important work required by the FDA. When they laid her off, the businessmen in charge told Dr. Kube that it would be a long time before she ever got a job again. This is the reward for being an honest, hard-working and extremely successful scientist (more details along with Dr. Kube’s CV can be viewed in Appendix B of Dr. Klug’s portfolio at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/mctc-michael-klug-portfolio-redacted-final-vgok.pdf

So, Dr. Kube started helping Dr. Klug with his teaching load at MCTC. We both got worked to near death even though we never had any children and we made every sacrifice to meet the ever-increasing demands, including even sacrificing our marriage.

As stated in the written reprimand, the false accusations made therein were: “based on the available evidence, which comprised your statements from the Feb. 5 conversation with myself and President Pierce and the information you included in the portfolio.”

Contrary to what the written reprimand would suggest, Dr. Michael Klug certainly did not incriminate himself or do anything wrong, not in any conversation nor in his portfolio which he submitted in response to his nomination as Outstanding Educator by the students of the college, which can be viewed at https://myspiritualconnection.org/2018/07/07/outstanding-educator/

In fact, the college rescinded Dr. Klug’s nomination against the wishes of the students, presumably because the college is against the sharing of the truth in Dr. Klug’s portfolio, even though answers for improving student success are contained therein.

If the college really believed that private student data were shared, then wouldn’t the college have notified any affected students?

The written reprimand also incorrectly states that, “As the investigator explained to you, that conversation was not designed to be an investigative interview. The investigator therefore gave you an opportunity to be interviewed, but you declined. Dr. Kube also declined to be interviewed as a witness.”

The investigator did not explain anything to either of us. We never had any contact with them.

Dr. Kube received an email from a human resources assistant at the college stating that an “investigator is conducting an investigation on the issue of sharing private student data. Please contact me to schedule a meeting” to discuss this issue. Dr. Kube replied as follows in an email dated April 20, 2018: “To Whom it May Concern, I do not have any private student data or any access to any private student data, and I never did, so I cannot possibly share any private student data and there is therefore nothing to discuss. Sincerely, Dr. Marie Kube.”

Dr. Klug also responded in an email dated April 26, 2018 to the college human resources that an investigative meeting with an external attorney for an entire hour will waste a lot of money and time given that “I believe that my ex-wife has clearly pointed out in the email forwarded below that she never had any access to private student data. Via this email and during a conversation that I had with Vice President O’Kane and President Pierce back in February before all of these expenses got initiated, I am confirming that she is telling the truth. Given our severe budget shortfall, I would like to do my part to save the college money and hereby offer to forfeit the investigative meeting.”

The college human resources responded, “Thanks for the email. You may choose not to attend the investigatory meeting. If you waive your right to attend, the investigator will complete the investigation based on the information he has available – primarily from the portfolio you submitted in support of your nomination for Outstanding Educator. He will then submit his findings to Vice President O’Kane.”

The written reprimand states that these allegations are serious. If that is true, then why did the college wait so long from February 5 to the end of April to make these false accusations at the end of the semester when instructors are the busiest and the students need them the most?

It seems obvious now that we are being targeted by Administrators who are supposed to be supporting us in educating the students. Perhaps there is something motivating the Administration to care more about gentrification than success of the current students? Indeed, during the current Administration, the college has been losing funding due to lack of student success, especially among under-represented students. Dr. Klug has been an outspoken advocate for under-represented students and faculty. Indeed, Dr. Klug was one of the most outspoken advocates resulting in the vote of no confidence against the former MCTC President who originally hired the current Vice President who issued the written reprimand being appealed hereby. Since that vote of no confidence, there have been many circumstances and changes and events that, taken together, seem to establish a pattern of being targeted, for myself and others.

Further, all of the harassment has made us and others, especially those who care the most about equity, gravely ill. Dr. Marie Kube has PTSD. Instead of helping her, Minnesota science has destroyed her and other leading scientists, especially female scientists. Indeed, the college even hired people with lower degrees and less to no experience rather than ever hire Dr. Kube, even for a laboratory assistant position, even though there is a need and a demand for her expertise. In fact, one faculty even said, “no PhDs!” But should not the students have the best instructors with the most relevant knowledge and experience and proven success in the real world? Especially for biotechnology? See Appendix B of Dr. Klug’s portfolio at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/mctc-michael-klug-portfolio-redacted-final-vgok.pdf for more details and to view Dr. Kube’s CV.

Dr. Klug has been gravely injured by administrative policies of the college as well. Unable to teach this summer, he asked the college for a leave of absence in an email dated July 19, 2018:

“I have spent the past month resting and trying to recover, but I am still unable to teach. I ended up teaching more anatomy labs with dissection chemicals than was originally planned due to an issue with how annual fulltime teaching load with lab contact hours versus credits are calculated for UFT faculty. I was over-exposed to chemicals when I was in graduate and medical school, and I am still being exposed to those chemicals in the anatomy dissection lab as I have been for almost ten (10) years of teaching anatomy at MCTC. My current condition precludes me from teaching this summer, and I am still not well. Indeed, I usually teach during the summers, but I had to back out of teaching this summer. Furthermore, Spring semester was particularly stressful with the added stress of the threats of investigation into still un-resolved and false accusations. That stress was in addition to the need to re-plan the anatomy lab practical exams to Accommodate students in the face of reduced faculty support. Even though the stakes (point value) are relatively low for those exams, the recently increased requirement of the MCTC Nursing program that students have an A, or maybe a B, where a C was once acceptable have made students scrutinize every little thing in the anatomy course. So, making changes is extremely stressful for everyone involved, especially given that many students repeat the course and are expecting consistency. I am requesting a leave starting this Fall 2018. I have 87.17 sick days and Fall semester is only 78 scheduled duty days.”

Sadly, Administration refuses to grant Dr. Klug’s request for a leave of absence, even though he has already earned the days and even though his health has been compromised by doing his job in accordance with MCTC’s administrative policies. Administration says that a medical doctor must sign a form in order for Dr. Klug to be able to take a leave of absence.

So, Dr. Klug asked the college what medical doctor is even capable of doing what is necessary in this case, which is the following:

“If you require a Medical Doctor to sign a form so that I can take a leave of absence because I have been sickened by chemicals in the anatomy dissection laboratory for about ten (10) years, then please send me the contact information of any Medical Doctors who can do the following that is needed for my case:

1. Determine what chemicals I have been exposed to over all these years when the dissection specimens rotted because we had to use them past the expiration date because of the way the budget is spent. You see, in past years, money was taken out of our laboratory supply budget after students were already enrolled, making it impossible to order the correct number of specimens needed for that semester. We, therefore, put students in larger groups. Because of that budget scare, the ongoing budget uncertainties, and the fact that there are optimal times of the year for the specimens to be shipped, the specimens have been ordered too far in advance and the chemicals decomposed by the time the specimens were used in the laboratory. For example, the specimens were overgrown with mold and the stench was unbearable.

2. Determine the risks of long-term exposure to the chemicals identified in step #1 above.

3. Examine me for damage to my health, particularly with regard to known risks associated with long-term exposures to the chemicals identified in step #1 above and risks identified in step #2 above.

4. Decide whether to sign the form required by Human Resources so that I can take the days off that I earned.”

The college could not recommend anyone who could sign the form they require to be signed. Presumably this is because no such person exists. Sadly, by law, the employer could grant Dr. Klug his days off that he has supposedly already earned to try and recover from the damage done by his workplace, but his employer has refused to help Dr. Klug, even though they have hurt him greatly and he has done an excellent job teaching as evidenced by his nomination for Outstanding Educator by the students.

Please let us know of any factual inaccuracies herein so that they can be corrected.

Otherwise, understand that we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Klug and Dr. Marie Kube

Outstanding Educator

Dear Readers,

As you may know, my ex-husband, Dr. Michael Klug, was recently nominated as an Outstanding Educator by the students he has taught at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).  Accepting the nomination required him to write up to 70 pages to compete for the honor of being named Outstanding Educator in the statewide college and university system, in addition to being recognized locally at the college where he teaches.

Just to be clear, Michael was nominated by the students.

So, Michael spent winter break writing his portfolio.  After submitting his 70-page document to Administration, they rescinded his nomination, against the wishes of their students.  Administration also promised Michael that nobody would ever read his document.

However, I am publishing his portfolio here and now because Administration went against the students once again.  They have even gone so far as to falsely accuse Michael and me of sharing private student data.  Michael and I have proven success in working extensively with all forms of confidential and private information, even patient data.  Furthermore, if Administration knew the first thing about teaching, then they would know that covering up students names is a good and well-known practice of achieving objective grading that is merit-based and not based on privilege.  In addition, developing and using grading rubrics like I did for Michael’s class is currently a best practice in education.

It seems to me that Administration are ashamed of their practices, particularly their nepotistic and discriminatory hiring practices that have left me long-term unemployed.  Though my expertise has been required and utilized extensively, I remain uncompensated and unemployed for all of my contributions.

In fact, MCTC wishes to own my molecular biology class and laboratory BIOL 2500, even though they never paid me or Michael to develop the course.

In at least one of the United States of America, a federal judge ruled that if an organization hires by networking and family ties and they are all white, then that is racism.

MCTC is part of a public college and university system, so there should be full transparency, and I am doing my part to help ensure that the tax payers and tuition payers have their power.

Love, Mary

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Michael Klug Letter 06282018

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Tony Hsieh

Love Your Neighbors

Tony Hsieh,

I am your neighbor.  I would talk to you myself in person, but you are too inaccessible, even to Mary, mother of God, now that you are worth $840 million.  So, I am writing you this blog post before I too become homeless on June 30, 2018.

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Did you see the word of the day today? 

There is no one holy like the Lord (1 Samuel 2:2).

There is an app for the Bible, as I am sure you know since you have a computer science degree from Harvard.  After I graduated from high school near the top of my class, I, too, was accepted to Harvard.  I knew that joining the ivy league comes with advantages called “privilege” these days, but the cost was out of my league.  Nevertheless, we ended up neighbors, you and I, at least at one of your homes.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 19:19).

Nothing happens here in our neighborhood in downtown Las Vegas (now DTLV, according to you) without going through you.  And I know for a fact that that is true, because I am your neighbor, as I mentioned.  And because I am Mary, mother of God. 

And so, you are responsible for DTLV, Tony Hsieh, but you are certainly not God.  And when people play God, other people die.  You see, Tony, God loves us all, even you.  But you do not love me, even though I am your neighbor.  So, you are not God.

And it is not just me.  There are many more of your neighbors besides me whom you do not love.  In fact, you let them die in the street with dirty feet and nothing to eat or drink, while you take the water from the fire hydrant to fill the pool of your new complex.

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What have you done with all your privilege, Tony?  Read my websites to get an idea of my sacrifices and suffering for the greater good.  And I am here to tell you, Tony Hsieh, that what you did called Link Exchange opened the door to internet advertising that is oppressing merit and favoring privilege, as usual.  Even worse, you put shoe stores and shoe salespeople out of business with zappos.com, and those were good jobs.  Without shoe salespeople, people have been wearing the wrong shoes, and even young people are having to get bunion surgery because of it.  It is harder than ever to find decent walking shoes, even if you can pay a lot of money.  Even worse, people are being blamed for having bad genes when it is well-known that bunions are primarily caused by wearing the wrong shoes.  Even an auto shop owner reported that you put him out of business when you bought the building. 

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There is nothing for the people who live here, nothing.  Even a yoga studio would be more than needed, let alone shelter for the homeless.  Instead, empty buildings are boarded up like in a ghost town, and security guards are paid to keep the homeless out.

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I, myself, have tried to perform on Fremont Street Experience, but the performers are having a harder and harder time competing for money with all the smelly and starving homeless people everywhere.  I even tried to start a much wanted and needed dance studio, but everything must go through you, Tony, and you are not accessible to Mary, mother of God. 

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DTLV is oppression, and I am warning people not to come here thinking that there is any opportunity for anything other than putting your things in storage and renting a hotel room weekly or monthly until your money is gone and you are homeless.

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Tony Hsieh, I know you are busy with the year 2045 plan for the future of our great city.

But we need something now!

I know you want Vegas to be as profitable for you and your investors as places like San Francisco, Denver, and Arizona have been in the past for other exploiters and hoarders of resources that belong to all of us.  Like the city streets and sidewalks of DTLV that you now charge $100 for a 10’x10’ space on the first Friday of every month in the Arts District.  And that is if you even allow them that opportunity.  I applied for a 10’x10’ space, but you did not even respond to me, even after I followed up with you a second time.  So, you see, it is not as if I haven’t tried to contact you, but you have been rude to Mary, mother of God.

Nobody who makes less than the median income and who is trying to sell their goods or services on the street should have to incorporate or deal with local or federal sales tax, let alone pay an upfront fee of $100 to rent a 10’x10’ public space, if they are selected subjectively through a nontransparent application process.  This is especially true when there aren’t enough jobs and more than half of Clark County’s $1.42 billion budget is spent on jails and police while the homeless population is ever-increasing. 

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We need something now because we are not worth $840 million and cannot leave our buildings, including hotels, empty and keep homeless people out and wait for good business opportunities to arise that we can profit from.  We do not own a home in Southern Highlands Golf Club in addition to living in an airstream downtown.  We are not the gaming executives, real estate developers, professional athletes, musicians, actors and actresses, corporate executives, philanthropists or politicians who live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the western U.S., like you, Tony.  Is your house in the smaller neighborhood within the club called the Estates of Southern Highlands, possibly worth more than $10 million, or is it just one of the highest average home prices in the country at $1.7 million?  Either way, it is far too rich for the likes of Mary, mother of God. 

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You have taken too much from others and at the expense of others, Tony Hsieh.  As the mediatrix, I am here to try and save your soul.  I advise you to repent and beg God for forgiveness.  The way is through non-merit-seeking acts of charity.  Then maybe we can do business together.  In the meantime, I would rather hang on the cross like my Son than drink your Kool-Aid.  I am a very successful scientist, and I know that being poisoned is one of the worst ways to die.  I pray for you, my child, as well as your followers.

Love, Mary

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Big Pharma Gets Stoned

Dear Readers,

I finished writing this story about Mary Jane on November 1, 2007.  Now that I have this blog and the pictures to go with my story, I am publishing it here for your enjoyment and education.

Lots of Love, Marie

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Big Pharma Gets Stoned

Mary Jane helping to reduce the opioid crisis

Michael and Mary were exhausted from a long week of work, but they had to get groceries.  At least the weekend had finally arrived, and they had a little free time.  They had both worked until well past midnight, which was becoming a habit, even on Friday nights.  After only a few hours of sleep, they were too tired to make plans for the weekend beyond the mundane task of grocery shopping.  Besides, grocery shopping was the immediate priority since there was only a small window of time in which to get it done.  The stores closed early on Saturday and were not open at all on Sunday.  If they didn’t buy food now, they would either have to spend a fortune eating out all weekend, provided they could get reservations, or they would go hungry.  Once they had their groceries, they would be free to focus on having some fun.  Every day was an adventure for them anyway, whether they had plans or not, because they were strangers in a strange place.  Who knew what would happen today. 

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They gathered up their shopping bags and headed out of the apartment they rented in an old but recently renovated row house built of stone.  Three flights of a wooden staircase took them past their landlords’ apartment and into the entryway where a huge chandelier hung from the high ceiling.  There was only one other apartment in the house and it was the largest one, occupying the top two floors above Michael and Mary.  It had recently been rented to a couple of doctors doing their residencies at nearby hospitals. 

Michael opened the massive wooden front door and they let themselves out onto the street.  They didn’t have a car, so the only decision was whether to walk into town or take the crowded tram.  It was chilly and humid, and the sky was overcast, as usual.  But it wasn’t raining, so they decided to walk.  After all, it was only a couple of miles across the bridge stretching over the mighty river and down the ancient, narrow, cobblestone streets into the crowded center of town where shopping opportunities abounded.

Michael was clean-cut now that he was a professional.  When he met Mary in graduate school, though, his brown hair was almost as long and wavy as her thick, blonde hair.  Mary loved Michael’s long hair, although she knew he would have to cut it someday.  And that day had come.  Of course, Mary wasn’t expected to cut her hair, even though she had a real job now, too.  It would still have fallen below her shoulders if it weren’t tied back in a ponytail.  While it didn’t seem fair that she could have long hair and Michael couldn’t, the fact was that appearances mattered, and Michael never would have gotten the job with long hair.  Besides, he was handsome whether his hair was short or long, with his straight strong nose, strong chin, and rugged brows.  And he was physically fit, too, especially since he went running every morning while Mary did yoga.  She hated running and couldn’t keep up with Michael anyway.  Even now, Mary could barely maintain Michael’s pace as they weaved their way through the crowded streets. 

Back home in the U.S., Michael and Mary were both taller than average.  In fact, Mary was taller than the average American man.  Nevertheless, Michael was taller than Mary, even when she wore heals, and she liked that.  Here, on the other hand, they both fit right in, at least height-wise.  Walking along side by side, they looked like they belonged together.  And they did.  The instant they met, they realized they would never part.  And all the years and all the stress they had been through had solidified that premonition.  It just worked between them, without effort or compromise.  Fundamentally, they saw things the same way.  And they never fought.  It wasn’t that they didn’t disagree, but they could reach an agreement.  Their compatibility was so extraordinary that other people seemed to sense it, too.  Heads always turned in their presence, and a lot of the looks they got suggested more than simple admiration of their handsomeness.  There were looks of curiosity, disbelief, and sometimes recognition, it appeared, of the bond between them.

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But people were really staring at them today.  Well, no wonder, Mary realized.  It was obvious they were foreigners because they were dressed in blue jeans, white tennis shoes, and brightly colored shirts and jackets.  All the locals wore dark clothes, particularly black clothes.  Yet despite the overall monotone appearance, the local fashion was stylish, cosmopolitan, and sexy.  The women looked long and sleek in tight-fitting black polyester pants with flared bottoms and heels.  The men were suave in black jeans with black leather belts and jackets and square-toed black leather shoes.  And the eyeglasses people wore were very cool and modern looking.   Mary was suddenly conscious of the fact that people thought they were tourists. 

“Michael, we should buy new clothes so that we blend in,” she said.

“And so it’s easier to do laundry,” he replied.  “All darks.”

“Oh, yeah, that explains all the dark clothes!” exclaimed Mary.  Almost everyone had to use shared washers and dryers in the basement of their apartment building.  And use of the shared facilities was often quite restricted.  Some people only got a couple of hours on one day every two weeks to do laundry!  Michael and Mary were lucky since they could use the washer and dryer in their house every Tuesday and Wednesday between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm sharp.  It was still a hassle, though, after having had their own washer and dryer that they could use whenever they wanted, even as graduate students.

“Are you going to dye your hair red, too?” Michael teased Mary.  Most of the women did have red hair, obviously dyed.  There was a variation of the color for everyone it seemed.  They had never seen so many different shades of red. 

Mary looked at him and rolled her eyes.  “You’re really funny.” 

Michael knew that Mary would never dye her hair.  And he was glad, not just because regular use of toxic hair coloring could cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but also because he loved her natural beauty, her sparkling blue eyes, high cheekbones, cute nose, perfect mouth, and perfect skin.

They cut through an alley that also served as a makeshift parking lot nestled between rows of tall, long-standing buildings with shops on the ground levels and apartments on the upper levels.  There was a passageway going from the alley through a row of buildings and out onto another street.  They paused at the entrance of the passageway.  It looked uninviting, like a tunnel that was dark except for a small amount of light coming through windows of the shops that lined either side.  As they were standing there, debating about which way to go, Michael glanced through the window of the store they were standing next to. 

“Greenland.  Is that…?”

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 She followed his gaze but couldn’t believe her eyes.  “No way!  It can’t be.”             

“Let’s go in and check it out.”

 “I don’t know.  Maybe it’s some sort of a trap…,” she started to say.  But it was too late.  Michael had pulled open the glass door and was already half way inside.  So, she followed him, leery as could be.  At least she didn’t see anyone else in the store. 

 A few more feet and they were standing in front of a glass case that made up a counter.  Inside the case were displayed what looked like, but couldn’t possibly be, enormous buds of marijuana.  There were all different varieties, each one labeled with its name.  There was B-52, Strawberry, Kamikaze, Hawaiian Purple, Maui Wowie, Blue Sky, Sleeper, Morning Glory, Super Silver Haze, NYC Diesel, Hysteria, and Super Kali Mist.  Some of the buds were all green.  Others were green with red or purple hairs.  Still others appeared to be lined with silver or gold.  Could there really be marijuana for sale in a country where hydrogen peroxide was a regulated substance?  The buds looked real, they certainly smelled real, and there were glass water pipes and other paraphernalia in additional glass cases on either side of the one containing the buds.  Mary threw her head back in disbelief.  What she saw then made her nudge Michael hard to get him to look, too.

Above the counter on the slanted ceiling was a large poster with a picture of a strong and weathered-looking man.  He had a big smile on his face even though one of arms was in a meat grinder, chewed up almost to the elbow.  The bloody meat and bone mess was dripping down and collecting on a plate beneath the blades.  Michael and Mary were frozen in horror and shock.   

Then suddenly the same man from the poster appeared behind the counter, in the flesh.  And sure enough, his right arm ended prematurely with a scarred stump in lieu of a forearm and hand.  The enormous grin on his face showed how absolutely delighted he was that his poster had produced the desired effect. 

No doubt he was a Vietnam Veteran.  And though his sense of humor was a bit tilted, thought Mary, it was admirable nevertheless.  If you had to live without your right hand, you might as well have some fun with it, whatever your idea of fun may be.  Maybe he’s just smoked too much of the stuff he’s selling.

The Vet leaned over the glass counter.  “What’s your pleasure?” he asked them.  “Do you want to go to sleep or stay awake?  You want to laugh or feel calm and relaxed?  You want something strong or mellow?”

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“What’s good?” asked Michael.

“Depends on what you’re looking for,” the Vet replied.

Apparently, the different varieties had different effects.  Interesting.  But seriously, they were not going to buy drugs like some derelicts, Mary was thinking.  After all, they were scientists.  And they were developing ethical drugs, just like the noble pharmaceutical scientists in those inspiring TV commercials, dedicating their lives to finding a cure and making a significant improvement in the health and quality of life of a lot of people suffering from some terrible disease.  That’s why they were living here in Switzerland, to work at one of the world’s largest and richest pharmaceutical companies.  In fact, Mary’s goal was to discover a drug that had the opposite effect of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

But Michael, who had a strong business sense in addition to his scientific aptitude, was already talking price.  It was 40 Swiss francs for an ounce, which was about 30 U.S. dollars.  That didn’t seem very expensive – less than going out for a movie or a couple of cocktails.     

Michael turned to look at Mary, hoping for a signal to proceed, or at least not a look that definitely said “no.”  She was tempted.  Her curiosity was overruling her conservativeness.  They were scientists, after all, with open eyes and open minds, always searching for new knowledge and experiences, and always willing to give up old ideas in light of new information. 

Michael knew exactly what her hesitant, half frown, half smile meant.  So, he picked out several different varieties of buds along with some rolling papers and started reaching for his cash while she just stood there quietly by his side. 

“Just need to see your I.D. please,” said the Vet.

Michael chuckled a little nervously.  “Oh, sure,” he said, “here you go.”

The Vet glanced at Michael’s identification card and seemed satisfied.  He returned the card, took the money, and handed Michael several ounces of marijuana.  And that was all there was to it.  They had made their first recreational drug purchase in a seemingly legal manner.  They thanked the Vet and hurriedly left Greenland with their variety pack before one of their colleagues saw them there.   

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They headed down the alley, walking fast to put some distance between themselves and Greenland.  Then they slowed down and walked aimlessly for a while, trying to process what had just happened. 

Mary grabbed Michael’s arm.  “Do you think it’s the real stuff?”

“Well, judging by the way it smells, I would say so,” he chuckled. 

“You must be right because it would be damn near impossible to fake the complex essential oil that makes up the bouquet of marijuana.”  Mary, who was a chemist before she went to graduate school to learn biology, and who had always been fascinated with natural products, was thinking about the chemistry of the marijuana plant.  “I mean the oil contains all kinds of chemical compounds, like eugenol, guaiacol, sesquiterpene, humulen, farnesene, selinen, phellandrene, and limonene, among other things.  Oh, and there’s also caryophyllene-oxide, which is used to train some of the drug-sniffing police dogs.”

“Really?  That’s interesting.”  Michael was getting excited as the characteristic scent of marijuana enveloped them and the prospect of finally experiencing this mystical substance himself was settling in.  The oily fragrance was strong and incredibly enticing, but they knew it was a dead giveaway.  What if they ran into someone from work?  It would be obvious what was in their bag.

“We have to go home now,” said Mary.

“No, we have to get groceries first,” insisted Michael, who was always hungry thanks to his extremely active metabolism.

“But we can’t walk around with that smell,” she argued.

“Here, I have some extra bags we can seal it up in,” he reassured her. 

They had learned the hard way that you didn’t go shopping in Switzerland without shopping bags.  Once you paid for your groceries, you were expected to bag them yourself, in your own shopping bags.  Not only did you not get asked whether you wanted paper or plastic, but there weren’t any bags at all at the end of the checkout counter, not even bags that you could buy.  One experience carrying home groceries, including eggs, without bags to put them in was all it took to ensure that they would never leave home without bags again.  And now those bags would come in handy once more.  They ducked around a corner and packaged up the buds until their scent was concealed. 

“Do you think it’s actually legal here?” Mary asked.

“I don’t know,” said Michael, “but maybe we can find some information online.” 

Now that their cargo was no longer obvious, they headed into the center of town where there was a relatively large, very fancy, and probably overpriced grocery store.  But they were no longer interested in shopping around.  They bought groceries as quickly as possible and hurried home, eager to experiment with a new form of recreation.  On the way, they stopped at a tobacco shop to buy a bag of organic tobacco and a hand-operated cigarette-rolling machine. 

Once they had lugged the groceries up the three flights of stairs and into their apartment, Michael searched the Internet while Mary put the food away in their narrow, little kitchen.  Their kitchen was rather large by Swiss standards, but it seemed tiny compared to the kitchens they had had in the U.S.  In fact, everything seemed miniaturized in Europe, except for the people and the Alps.

“The sale of Cannabis for smoking is illegal,” Michael called from the living room.

Mary joined Michael at the computer.  “Oh my God, we’re going to get deported!”

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“Hold on,” said Michael, “apparently the law is not strongly enforced in this part of Switzerland.  A lot of Swiss are smoking marijuana, and more and more police officers are overlooking ‘Kiffen,’ as they call it.  It’s estimated that as many as one out of four people in this nation of seven million have smoked marijuana, an additional 500,000 smoke occasionally, and 90,000 smoke daily, nearly one-third of which are teenagers.”

“That’s not good,” said Mary.  “There was a study showing that the earlier you start using marijuana, like at 12 or 13 years old, the more you’re at risk of misusing it and developing a dependency, and the harder it is to quit or reduce consumption.”

“Plus, you’re not even physically mature at that age, and it just seems riskier to take drugs during development,” said Michael, the physiologist.  “Anyway, since there are so many ‘Kiffers’ here, officials have announced plans to remove the penalties for consumption of marijuana and hashish and lift some of the restrictions on their sale and production.  What’s hash again?”

Hash is basically the hairs, called trichomes, on the flowers of mature female marijuana plants,” said Mary.  “Apparently the trichomes can be collected on leather aprons by simply walking among marijuana plants, or flowering tops can be sifted with mechanical filters or isolated with cold-water extraction.  In any case, the resin of the glandular trichomes, which is very rich in THC, is somehow separated from the plant and formed into blocks of hash, which can be smoked or ingested like the buds we just bought.”

“That’s right, it’s a more concentrated form of THC,” said Michael.  

Mary leaned over Michael’s shoulder to look at the computer screen.  “So, the laws against drug use may soften because so many Swiss are smoking marijuana?  I mean, there must be millions of people using it in the U.S., probably more like tens of millions, but the occasional discussions about legalization center on medical use to decrease nausea after chemotherapy in cancer patients or to reduce weight loss in AIDS patients.”

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Michael clicked on a tab at the bottom of the screen to restore the window.  “Well here’s an article saying that one reason they’re reconsidering the laws is because people don’t understand why marijuana is forbidden when there are so many problems with alcohol and cigarette smoking.” 

“That’s an interesting point,” Mary interjected.  “Obviously cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer, emphysema, COPD, but how do the potential risks of marijuana and alcohol compare?”

Michael opened another search window and started typing rapidly.  “Here we go,” he said a moment later.  “Use of alcohol can result in vitamin deficiencies; memory disturbances or loss; liver damage; hallucinations, often occurring within 48 hours of abstaining from alcohol in people who are physically dependent; hypertension; pancreatitis; and heart problems.  And, of course, alcohol has also been linked to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Use of marijuana, on the other hand, can result in splitting of consciousness or feelings of observing oneself, anxiety, mood swings, amnesia, paranoia, and respiratory disorders like nicotine products.  But you can avoid the risk of respiratory disorders if you eat it rather than smoke it.”

“Or use a vaporization technique.”  Mary started pacing on the hardwood floors.  “So, it looks like the risks associated with use of marijuana are psychological, while there are physical as well as psychological risks associated with alcohol.  But the psychological effects of marijuana can be pretty serious, huh?  I mean, splitting of consciousness, amnesia, paranoia – are those temporary effects?”

“I think so.”  Michael started clicking away again.  “Says here that there’s often a splitting of consciousness when you’re high, so that you can objectively observe your own intoxication.  For example, you can be having paranoid thoughts and, at the same time, be objective about them.  So, you could be paranoid while laughing about how paranoid you’re being!”

Mary stopped pacing and looked at Michael.  “That could explain how stoned people can act normal in public.  But what about amnesia?”    

“Let’s see,” said Michael.  “Looks like amnesia triggered by marijuana intoxication is a rare event, and transient.  It probably takes a huge dose, too.”

“You know, given that the existence of marijuana is believed to predate humans, and that humans all over the world have used it for thousands of years, and that so many people have used it, even long-term, don’t you think it would be clear by now if it were really unsafe?  I mean it’s not like heroin, cocaine, or ecstasy that people are known to have died from.”

“Yeah, the proposed Swiss law definitely distinguishes marijuana from those types of hard drugs.”  Michael continued searching the Internet.  “Oh, and this explains why the Vet at Greenland checked my I.D.  The draft law would allow sale of small amounts to Swiss residents who are at least 18 years old.  Of course, critics argue that the changes would create a magnet for drug tourists.  But check this out; the government says hemp is being grown on hundreds of acres, maybe thousands, around Switzerland.  The proposed law would legalize growing hemp for smoking as long as it was sold in Switzerland.  And the federal drugs commission estimated that sales for smoking could exceed $1 billion a year!  So, I’m sure the farmers are supportive.”

“A billion U.S. dollars a year?” Mary was incredulous.

“That’s what it says.”

“Wow!  That’s incredible, especially since it doesn’t seem very expensive.”

“Yeah, so it’s not exactly legal, but tolerated.”  Michael stopped typing and spun around in his chair to face Mary.  “Maybe we should head for the hills outside of town for a picnic dinner with some green dessert?”

“Just gotta pack up our backpacks,” she replied, already gathering their things.

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Switzerland was a hiker’s paradise with over 31,000 miles of hiking trails that were usually well marked.  Michael had purchased hiking maps at a bookshop near their apartment and they had already explored several trails just outside of the city.  They took the tram as far as they could, to a small town called Muttens, and then walked the rest of the way to a cluster of yellow metal signs indicating trails towards different destinations and the approximate times to get there.  Following one of the trails, they headed up into the hills and deep into the woods.  It was dark now, and no one else was around.   

Towards the top of a hill, the trail opened into a clearing containing a substantial fire pit fashioned out of large boulders and surrounded by benches made from tree trunks.  It still hadn’t rained, so they decided to gather some wood in the forest, start a fire, and stay awhile. 

Michael was an Eagle Scout, so he had no problem getting a nice fire going.  Then he sat down on the bench next to Mary and took the marijuana, tobacco, rolling papers, and rolling machine out of his backpack. 

“How about some Strawberry?” he suggested.

“That sounds like a good one to try first,” agreed Mary.

Michael took a bud of Strawberry out of the bag, rolled it gently between his fingers to break it up, and mixed it with a little tobacco.  That will make it less strong, he figured, and probably help it burn better, too.  Then he rolled the mixture into a fortified cigarette.  He lit the special cigarette and they passed it back and forth, inhaling only slightly at first to keep from coughing and then inhaling progressively deeper as they started getting used to it.

Mary thought it was so romantic to be sitting in the forest on a rustic bench in front of a warm fire with the love of her life, just hanging out together, smoking some marijuana and enjoying the peaceful silence of the woods.

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Suddenly Michael started laughing.  “Wow, I feel great.  I can hear and feel my heart beating.  I guess marijuana really does increase pulse rate.” 

“But not blood pressure, right?” Mary asked him.

“It actually reduces blood pressure.  That’s why your eyes get red, cuz the blood vessels get dilated.”  Michael jumped up to feed the fire with some more wood.

“Wow look at the fire, it’s so amazing.”  Mary was mesmerized.  The dancing flames above the glowing coals had become more fascinating than ever.  “Fire must be the single greatest discovery made by man,” she mused.

“Yeah, fire provides light and warmth and keeps ferocious animals away.  And thanks to fire we can cook and smelt metal ores to make tools and weapons.”

“Smelt metal ores?” Mary giggled.  “I guess that’s a guy thing.  How was fire first discovered anyway?”

“There are lots of different stories, but my guess is that it was probably discovered by accident.  Maybe some early human hit a stone with his flint axe and it created a spark that started a fire.”

“And then they had to learn how to control it.”  

“Yeah, it must have been pretty exciting.”

Michael was aware that they were easing into a mental state of great calm and intensely pleasurable perception.  He could feel their stress melting away and the wave of relaxation that overcame them.  Suddenly his back didn’t hurt, and his headache was gone, too.  He felt alive and extremely glad to be alive.  It was heavenly. 

And then they both felt extremely hungry.  Good thing they made it to the grocery store.  They ate Swiss cheese, Emmentaler and Gruyère, with freshly baked bread.  It was both the simplest and the best meal they had ever had.  Michael even brought a bottle of French red wine and a corkscrew.  He was always prepared, which never ceased to amaze and delight Mary.  They drank the wine straight out of the bottle.  It was thick and delicious and felt warm all the way down into the stomach and then out into the rest of the body.  Life was good, thought Michael.  They had good jobs, they had each other, and they were having fun.   

He gave Mary a huge hug, and then he started preparing another one of the special cigarettes.  “Want to have some more Strawberry?”  It was a completely rhetorical question.

Mary answered him anyway.  “Sure!  We don’t have to drive anywhere!”

As they smoked and drank some more, Michael began to feel like his consciousness was somehow being activated, that it was opening up, waking up, and preparing for philosophic insights. 

“It’s amazing how living in another country makes you reevaluate things that you’ve always taken for granted,” said Michael.  “I don’t think very many Americans know what it’s like to live and work in another country.  After all, people from all over the world are trying to get into the U.S., but who wants to leave?”

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“Things are really different here,” agreed Mary.  She was feeling that her thoughts were somehow more profound and that she could now see the same things in a new and different way.  “I remember waking up in the morning when we first got here and looking out the window at church steeples and ancient turrets.  I thought I was in a fairy tale.  And then I remembered that we moved to Switzerland!”

“Where there’s an intermission half-way through a movie.”

“And they come around selling ice cream, and you can use the restroom and have a cappuccino.  And the seating is assigned!”

“Yeah!  And good thing we have Ph.D. degrees, because you need one to figure out how to throw away your trash here!” 

“We finally realized that you have to buy ‘official’ garbage bags, and that they keep them behind the counter at the grocery store because they’re so expensive.” 

“Remember when our apartment smelled like stinky cheese for a week because you’re not allowed to put trash bags on the balcony?”  Just the thought of it gave Michael the urge to throw a plastic cheese wrapper into the fire and watch the fire consume it.

“Ugh — that was awful!  My God, the Swiss are obsessed with cleanliness, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, but I like that.  I’ve never seen public restrooms as clean as the ones they have here.”

“That’s true.”  Mary pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapped her arms around them, and rocked herself back and forth on the bench.

“And another good thing,” Michael continued, “is that we can now add to our resumes how skilled we are at bundling up paper for recycling in perfectly square bundles that are no larger than 0.5 x 0.5 meters and that are tied correctly with the right kind of twine.”

“Yeah, our bundles don’t get left behind like the ones that aren’t done right!”

It was good that they could laugh about it all now, mused Mary.  They needed to laugh.  It felt so good.  It was such a release.  When was the last time they laughed this much?   

“Yeah, it’s not like in the U.S. where everyone has a huge garbage container outside of their house, or a big dumpster behind their apartment building.  And you can throw all kinds of stuff in there.”

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“You know,” Michael jokingly threatened, “if you put anything in the official trash bags that can’t be incinerated, or that can be recycled, like glass, paper, metal, or any textiles, the garbage police will track you down and make you pay a huge fine.  I even heard a story about an executive in our company getting in trouble for throwing away Styrofoam.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I guess he had a bunch of Styrofoam packing from Christmas presents he brought back from the U.S. for his kids, and he threw it in a trash can at the airport parking lot to get rid of it.  Well, he also threw away the cardboard boxes, which had his name and address on them for the airline.  So, they came after him with a court summons and made him pay.”

Mary laughed out loud.  “I guess that taught him a lesson!” 

“Yeah well there isn’t a lot of room for landfills in this small and densely populated country, so they’re pretty serious about recycling.”

“Not to mention how serious they are about not flushing the toilet between 10 pm and 6 am!”

Michael threw his hands up.  “Yeah – what if you have to take a big shit in the middle of the night?”

“Like the kind that requires multiple flushes?”

“Especially with the water-saving toilet we have.”

“Well then you’re just shit out of luck!” laughed Mary.

“I guess so,” conceded Michael.  “But you know what another big difference is?  If we were in the U.S. right now, we wouldn’t be sitting in the woods by a fire smoking pot and drinking French wine and eating Swiss cheese!”  He snuggled close to her and put his arm around her shoulders.

She nestled her head in his shoulder.  “I know.  Can you believe that we just walked into a store and bought a bunch of marijuana, Mary Jane, pot, grass, weed, whatever you want to call it!”

“It does have a helluva lot of names, doesn’t it?  There’s also ganga, hemp, Cannabis sativa, mari-hu-ana with an ‘h’, dope, herb, reefer, greenbud, and bhang, not to mention the one we learned today – kif.”

 “And there’s sinsemilla, Cannabis indica, hooch, and stash.  And what we’re smoking is a joint or a doobie or, when it gets small, a roach.”

“Amazing how much we know about it even though we never tried it before,” Michael realized.

“It’s a huge part of our culture, everyone’s culture apparently.”

“It is a presumed fact that the number of terms for a drug is related to its usage in society.”

“I wonder if there are more names for marijuana or for God.” 

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“Hmm.”  Michael thought for a moment.  “The multiple names for God best characterize the awesomely complex figure.”

“So true.  And maybe it’s similar for marijuana.  It’s definitely complex.  Cannabis contains about 70 molecules, the cannabinoids, which are not found in any other plant.  And while THC appears to be the main psychoactive component, the other cannabinoids must interact with THC in some complex way because patients who take synthetic THC alone complain that the pharmacological effects differ significantly from those achieved by eating or smoking marijuana.”  Suddenly it was all making sense.

And Michael cut right to the chase.  “The differences in the overall chemical composition of Cannabis varieties could explain how the different varieties produce different effects.” 

“Exactly!  For example, one cannabinoid called cannabichromene, besides being a strong anti-fungal, a cytotoxic agent for malignant cells, and an antidepressant, is also thought to promote the pain-relieving property of THC.  And cannabidiol also is believed to relieve pain, in addition to having a sedative effect.  Cannabinol, which may have modest psychoactivity, is anti-epileptic and can reduce ocular pressure in glaucoma patients.  And cannabigerol has sedative, antibiotic, and ocular pressure-reducing properties…” 

She was on a roll, but Michael couldn’t help interrupting.  “Think of how fascinating it would be to conduct scientific studies of the contents and effects of all the different varieties of Cannabis available at Greenland!”  

Once again, he was on exactly the same page that she was on, thought Mary.  He truly was her soul mate. “Yeah, you’d analyze the chemical composition of each variety, using gas chromatography for example, and correlate the composition with the physiological and psychological effects.”

“The only problem would be deciding which disorders to test it on first.”  Michael was thinking it through.  “I mean Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat just about everything, like migraines, asthma, rheumatism, glaucoma, seizures, spasticity, menstrual cramps, nausea, muscle spasms, and psychiatric disorders.”

“But now we have the ability and the tools to do studies that could lead to realization of its full therapeutic potential.”

“You’d have to identify and separate out the non-intoxicating, but biologically active compounds because psychoactive drugs are not allowed, at least not in the U.S.  And hence the difficulties involved in doing the research.”

Mary knew he was right.  “That’s why my job is to find a compound that antagonizes the effect of THC.”

“Yeah, and that might really work.  I mean getting stoned sure made us hungry.  So, if you could discover a compound that produces the opposite effect and suppresses hunger, it might be really useful for treating obesity.”

“Yeah,” she said, giving him a playful kiss on the lips.  “That’d be awesome.”

He pulled her close and returned her kiss until the fire died down and it was time to go home to bed. 

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I Wanted to Be That Woman

When I was young and traveling with my family, I once saw a woman pull up in her car under the covered driveway along the front of a motel out west.  She was all by herself.  She was sexy and so was her car, yet neither was the most expensive one.  Her boots kicked up the dust as she got out of the car, and then she put on her black felt cowboy hat over her dark shoulder-length hair.  She was young and beautiful and confident in her blue jeans, like she knew exactly what she was doing.  And she had grown hard and strong and tough, at least on the outside, wherever she had been planted.  But she had no roots.  And all the storms she had survived only made her stronger and could not take away her beauty or her charm or the sparkle of the excitement in her eyes that somehow coexisted with her wisdom, or at least street smarts.  She seemed quite fit as she moved energetically, gracefully, and decisively.  She was renting a room in a motel all by herself during a long drive.  I felt so excited by her freedom as the gypsy in me awoke, and oh, I so wanted to be that woman…

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Art and Smart

Beloved Readers,

Art and Smart is a new magazine dedicated to the Art of Living Smart!  Non-religious and spiritual, Art and Smart is full of interesting, valuable and entertaining information for you with no conflicts of interest.  We worked hard for you, and we hope you enjoy reading Art and Smart and that it benefits you immensely!

Love, Mary and Michael

Copies can be purchased now on Amazon:

http://a.co/49hSME1

The front and back covers of the magazine (shown below) together make up one painting by ANT The Artist (the entirety of which is shown on page 15 of the magazine).

front scan

back scan

 

 

Marie Kube’s Curriculum Vitae

Beloved Readers,

I am still trying to figure out how to make a living, despite all of my accomplishments!  Here is my CV.  Thank you for your consideration.

Lots of Love, Marie

Dr. Marie D. Kube, Ph.D.

2038 Ford Parkway, #369, St. Paul, MN, 55116

(currently residing in Las Vegas, NV)

http://www.art-and-smart.com/contact

Education

Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, 1997, GPA 3.98/4.00

B.A., Chemistry (with minor in Mathematics), with distinction, University of Colorado at Denver, CO, 1990, GPA 3.87/4.00

Professional Experience

Author & Model                                                                                                            2011-Present

–        Author, model, and photographer for Sexiest at 50: PTSD PhD Marie, edited by Dr. Michael G. Klug, Ph.D., a proven guide for healthy living to age 50, available here

–        Author of Instructions for Helping to Improve the Human Condition, a journey into the spiritual realm from a non-religious, scientifically trained perspective, available here and here

–        Publisher of Art and Smart, edited by Dr. Michael G. Klug, Ph.D., a magazine dedicated to the Art of Living Smart, now available here

–        Creator of websites dedicated to the confluence of science and spirituality:  www.art-and-smart.com, with at least 20 blog posts, and www.myspiritualassociation.com, with mature content and at least 25 blog posts

Volunteer                                                                                                                             2009-2016

Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC), Minneapolis, MN

–        Assisted Dr. Michael G. Klug in developing and updating the curriculum and assessments, in grading, and in the preparations for his Molecular Biology BIOL 2500 course and laboratory that he taught Spring 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

–        Assisted Dr. Michael G. Klug with anything and everything I could do to promote success of students, colleagues, and MCTC

 Consultant                                                                                                                          2010-2011

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

–        Consultant for development and commercialization of new technology

Director of Development                                                                                                2007-2010

VitalMedix, Inc., Hudson, WI

–        Developed a parenteral drug formulation for severe blood loss

–        Planned and managed outsourcing of active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing, analytical assays, and pre-clinical safety & efficacy studies

–        Coordinated with team members, external contractors and consultants for Pre-Investigational New Drug (Pre-IND) meeting with the FDA, including writing a well-received submission document with pre-clinical and clinical study plans

–        Prepared and delivered technical presentations for current and potential investors and other stakeholders

–        Wrote grant applications

Patent Agent (Reg. No. 59,744)                                                                                       2005-2007

Fish & Richardson P.C., Minneapolis, MN

–        Prepared and prosecuted numerous patent applications in the field of biotechnology

–        Participated in patentability, due diligence, and freedom to operate analyses

Research Associate                                                                                                           2003-2005

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

–        Performed research for the prostate cancer biomarker discovery project of the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics

–        Developed, optimized, and validated molecular biological methods

–        Coordinated a multi-disciplinary team (including pathologists, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists, and protein biochemists) to achieve project goals within tight deadlines

–        Generated, analyzed, presented, and published results

Contributing Editor                                                                                                          2002-2003

Reed Business Information, Morris Plains, NJ

–        Published 16 articles about cutting edge technologies in Drug Discovery & Development and Genomics & Proteomics trade journals

–        Interviewed high-level executives in small, medium, and large biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies

 Laboratory Head and Project Leader                                                                        1999-2002

Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, Switzerland

–        Project leader of a drug discovery and development program, involving collaborations across departments and sites (Palo Alto, CA and Basel, Switzerland)

–        Designed pre-clinical testing strategies

–        Trained and supervised technicians

–        Developed and validated in vitro assays

–        Screened and characterized compounds

–        Presented results to peers, management, and external scientific experts, advisors, and consultants

–        Conducted research in obesity and type 2 diabetes as a postdoctoral researcher prior to being promoted

–        Applied genomics (real-time, quantitative PCR and microarray technology) to study hypothalamic control of food intake in rodent models of food deprivation and overeating

–        Inventor on U.S. Patent No. 6,900,227; U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 20050143373; and International Patent Application Publication No. WO2004013120

Instructor                                                                                                                            1994-1996

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

– Facilitator for the Problem Based Learning Section of Medical Microbiology J601 for medical students (8/1996 to 12/1996)

– Instructor for Nursing Microbiology Lab J210 (1/1996 to 5/1996 and 8/1994 to 12/1994)

Associate Pharmaceutical Chemist                                                                             1990-1993

Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, IN

–        Developed the formulation for Humalog®

–        Supported manufacture of clinical trial batches

–        Provided supporting documentation for FDA approval

–        Collaborated with statisticians to apply multivariate statistical methods to design experiments and analyze data

–        Performed research on protein aggregation and protein crystal agglomeration in relation to physical stability of protein products

Honors and Awards

– Esther L. Kinsley Ph.D. Dissertation Award, Indiana University.  This is the highest honor for research that Indiana University bestows upon its graduate students.  Indiana University awarded 336 Ph.D.s in 1997 across all disciplines, and only one degree recipient was given the Kinsley Award.

– Travel Fellowship, Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Women in Science and Engineering Initiative, 1997

– Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Competition, Indiana University School of Medicine, Honorable Mention, 1996

– Travel Fellowship, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis Fellowship Committee, 1995

– University Graduate Fellowship, Indiana University, 1994

– National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 1994

– Outstanding Chemistry Student, The American Institute of Chemists Foundation, 1991

– Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Colorado at Denver, Finalist, 1991

– H.A. Arnold Scholarship, 1989-1990

– Colorado Dean’s List Scholarship, 1986-1987

– Regent’s Scholarship, 1985-1986

Publications (in chronological order)

A. Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Kube, D.M., and A. Srivastava. (1997) Quantitative DNA Slot Blot Analysis: Inhibition of DNA Binding to Membranes by Magnesium Ions. Nucleic Acids Res., 25:3375.

Kube, D.M., S. Ponnazhagan, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Encapsidation of Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2 Rep Proteins in Wild-Type and Recombinant Progeny Virions: Rep-Mediated Growth Inhibition of Primary Human Cells. J. Virol., 71:7361.

Qing, K., X.-S. Wang, D.M. Kube, S. Ponnazhagan, A. Bajpai, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Role of Tyrosine Phosphorylation of a Cellular Protein in Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Mediated Transgene Expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94:10879.

Ponnazhagan, S., P. Mukherjee, X.-S. Wang, K. Qing, D.M. Kube, C. Mah, C. Kurpad, M.C. Yoder, E.F. Srour, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Mediated Transduction in Primary Human Bone Marrow-Derived CD34+ Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells: Donor Variation and Correlation of Transgene Expression with Cellular Differentiation. J. Virol., 71:8262.

Qing, K., B. Khuntirat, C. Mah, D.M. Kube, X.-S. Wang, S. Ponnazhagan, S. Zhou, V.J. Dwarki, M.C. Yoder, and A. Srivastava. (1998) Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Mediated Gene Transfer: Correlation of Tyrosine Phosphorylation of the Cellular Single-Stranded D Sequence-Binding Protein with Transgene Expression in Human Cells In Vitro and Murine Tissues In Vivo. J. Virol., 72:1593.

Wang, X.-S., B. Khuntirat, K. Qing, S. Ponnazhagan, D.M. Kube, S. Zhou, V.J. Dwarki, and A. Srivastava. (1998) Characterization of Wild-Type Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Like Particles Generated During Recombinant Viral Vector Production and Strategies for Their Elimination. J. Virol., 72:5472.

Mah, C., K. Qing, B. Khuntirat, S. Ponnazhagan, X.-S. Wang, D.M. Kube, M.C. Yoder, and A. Srivastava. (1998) Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Mediated Gene Transfer: Role of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Protein Tyrosine Kinase in Transgene Expression. J. Virol., 72:9835.

Rogers-Evans, M., A.I. Alanine, K.H. Bleicher, D. Kube, and G. Schneider. (2004) Identification of novel cannabinoid receptor ligands via evolutionary de novo design and rapid parallel synthesis. QSAR & Combinatorial Science, 23(6):426.

Kosari, F., A.S. Parker, D.M. Kube, C.M. Lohse, B.C. Leibovich, M.L. Blute, J.C. Cheville, and G. Vasmatzis. (2005) Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma: Gene Expression Analyses Identify a Potential Signature for Tumor Aggressiveness. Clin. Cancer Res., 11:5128.

Kube, D.M., C.D. Savci-Heijink, A.-F. Lamblin, F. Kosari, G. Vasmatzis, J.C. Cheville, D.P. Connelly, and G.G. Klee. (2007) Optimization of Laser Capture Microdissection and RNA Amplification for Gene Expression Profiling of Prostate Cancer. BMC Molecular Biology, 8:25.

Vasmatzis, G., E. Klee, D.M. Kube, T. Therneau, and F. Kosari. (2007) Quantitating Tissue Specificity of Human Genes to Facilitate Biomarker Discovery.  Bioinformatics, 23:1348.

Kosari, F., J.M.A. Munz, C.D. Savci-Heijink, C. Spiro, E.W. Klee, D.M. Kube, L. Tillmans, J. Slezak, R.J. Karnes, J.C. Cheville, and G. Vasmatzis. (2008) Identification of Prognostic Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer. Clin. Cancer Res., 14:1734.

Alig, L., J. Alsenz, M. Andjelkovic, S. Bendels, A. Bénardeau, K. Bleicher, A. Bourson, P. David-Pierson, W. Guba, S. Hildbrand, D. Kube, T. Lübbers, A. Mayweg, R. Narquizian, W. Neidhart, M. Nettekoven, J-.M. Plancher, C. Rocha, M. Rogers-Evans, S. Röver, G. Schneider, S. Taylor, and P. Waldmeier. (2008) Benzodioxoles:  Novel Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Inverse Agonists for the Treatment of Obesity.  J. Med. Chem., 51(7):2115.

 B. Technical Reports

Kube, D.M. Chemical Genomics Energizes Discovery. Drug Discovery & Development, March 2002, Vol.5, No.3, p45.

Kube, D.M. Mining for Molecular Interactions. Genomics & Proteomics, April 2002.

Kube, D.M. Automatic DNA Purification and Sequencing Evolve. Drug Discovery & Development, July/August 2002, Vol.5, No.7, p38.

Kube, D.M. Genomics and Proteomics Continue to Pave the Way to the Clinic. Genomics & Proteomics, July/August 2002.

Kube, D.M. Multitalented Proteins Play a Key Role in Therapeutics. Genomics & Proteomics, September 2002.

Kube, D.M. A Model Approach to Streamline Drug Discovery. Drug Discovery & Development, October 2002, Vol.5, No.9, p59.

Kube, D.M. OLA, MDI, PEG: the latest words in drug delivery. Drug Discovery & Development, November 2002, Vol.5, No.10, p81.

Kube, D.M. Good Manufacturing Practice is Getting Better. Drug Discovery & Development, December 2002, Vol.5, No.11, p63.

Kube, D.M. Picking Potential Drugs with In Vitro ADMET Models. Drug Discovery & Development, January 2003, Vol.6, No.1, p50.

Kube, D.M. Metabonomics Treats Attrition in Early Drug Discovery. Drug Discovery & Development, March 2003, Vol.6, No.3, p45.

Kube, D.M. Profiles of Blockbuster Drugs and Effective Drug Targets. Drug Discovery & Development, March 2003, Vol.6, No.3, p73.

Kube, D.M. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Target Validation. Drug Discovery & Development, April 2003, Vol.6, No.4, p37.

Kube, D.M. Innovative Assay Platforms Drive Proteomics Research. Drug Discovery & Development, April 2003, Vol.6, No.4, p45.

Kube, D.M. Mass Spectrometry: Drug Discovery’s Essential Tool. Drug Discovery & Development, May 2003, Vol.6, No.5, p71.

Kube, D.M. Power of Automated Protein Fractionation. Genomics & Proteomics, May 2003, Vol.3, No.4, p36.

Kube, D.M. Rational Drug Design Enables Informed Decision-Making. Drug Discovery & Development, June 2003.

C. Presentations and Published Abstracts

Kim, Y., and D.M. Kube. (1991) Doppler Electrophoretic Light Scattering Analyzer for Determination of the Zeta Potential of Human Insulin Particles in Suspension. Lilly Research Labs Symposium, Indianapolis, IN.

Kube, D.M., S. Ponnazhagan, and A. Srivastava. (1995) AAV-Mediated Cytopathic Effect on Primary Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells. VIth Parvovirus Workshop, Montpellier, France.

Srivastava, A., X.-S. Wang, S. Ponnazhagan, S.Z. Zhou, D.M. Kube, and M. Yoder. (1995) Parvovirus-Based Vectors for Human Gene Therapy. VIth Parvovirus Workshop, Montpellier, France.

Kube, D.M., S. Ponnazhagan, and A. Srivastava. (1995) Encapsidation of the Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2 Rep Proteins in Progeny Virions: Rep-Mediated Growth Inhibition of Primary Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells. Blood, 86(10):3990.

Kube, D.M., S. Ponnazhagan, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Encapsidation of AAV Rep Proteins in Progeny Virions: Wild-Type and Recombinant AAV-Mediated Growth Inhibition of Primary Human Cells. International Parvovirus Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany.

Qing, K.Y., B. Khuntirat, C. Mah, D.M. Kube, X.-S. Wang, S. Ponnazhagan, S.Z. Zhou, V. Dwarki, M.C. Yoder, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Adeno-Associated Virus-Mediated Gene Transfer: Correlation of Tyrosine Phosphorylation with Transgene Expression in Human Cells In Vitro and Murine Tissues In Vivo. Blood, 90(10):525.

Qing, K., X.-S. Wang, D.M. Kube, S. Ponnazhagan, A. Bajpai, and A. Srivastava. (1997) Role of Tyrosine Phosphorylation of a Cellular Protein in Adeno-Associated Virus Type 2-Mediated Transgene Expression. International Parvovirus Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany. (Blood, 90(10):526).

Ponnazhagan, S., P. Mukherjee, X.-S. Wang, K. Qing, D.M. Kube, C. Mah, C. Kurpad, M.C. Yoder, E.F. Srour, and A. Srivastava. (1997) AAV-Mediated Transduction of Primary Human Bone Marrow-Derived CD34+ Cells: Donor Variation and Correlation of Transgene Expression with Cellular Differentiation. International Parvovirus Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany.

Srivastava, A., S. Ponnazhagan, X.-S. Wang, K. Qing, P. Mukherjee, B. Khuntirat, D.M. Kube, C. Mah, and M.C. Yoder. (1997) AAV and Parvovirus B19 Vectors for Human Gene Therapy. International Parvovirus Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany.

Mah, C., K.Y. Qing, B. Khuntirat, S. Ponnazhagan, X.-S. Wang, D.M. Kube, M.C. Yoder, and A. Srivastava. (1998) Adeno-associated Virus 2-Mediated Gene Transfer: Role of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Protein Tyrosine Kinase in Transgene Expression. Blood, 92(10):150A.

Weigel, K.A., D.M. Kube, and A. Srivastava. (1998) Human Endothelial Cell-Specific Transgene Expression Mediated by a Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus 2-Parvovirus B19 Hybrid Vector. Blood, 92(10):382B.

Kube, D.M., C.D. Savci-Heijink, A.-F. Lamblin, G. Vasmatzis, J.C. Cheville, D.P. Connelly, and G.G. Klee. (2005) Optimization of Laser Capture Microdissection and RNA Amplification for Gene Expression Profiling of Prostate Cancer. American Association for Cancer Research, Anaheim, CA.

D. Patents

– Benzodioxole Derivatives, U.S. Patent No. 6,900,227, U.S. Patent No. 7,576,088, Hoffman-La Roche.

– Novel Benzodioxoles, International Patent Application Publication No. WO2004013120 (granted in Australia, European Patent Office, India, Republic of Korea and New Zealand), European Patent Specification No. EP 1 532 132, F. Hoffman-La Roche.

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

This is the first piece of writing I submitted for consideration to someone who was not one of my teachers.  Rather, it was the essay portion of a scholarship I competed for when I finished high school and was about to start college.  It was 1985.  I was 18 years old.  The title, “Where have all the flowers gone?” was given as the prompt for the essay, and you were supposed to write an essay to go with that title.  Here’s mine.  I used a typewriter to produce the original version (see below) before we even had word processors, let alone personal computers!  I was rejected.  It is said that the job of an artist is to accurately reflect the times…

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

Throughout literature children have been symbolized as flowers.  The comparison does not hold true as time passes, however, because children from generation to generation are so distinct.  In fact, saintly children from the past worthy of being symbolized as flowers are scarce if not extinct in the modern world.  The reason for the dwindling amount of flowers is the way in which society is changing in attitude and action according to the technological advances being made.  The close-knit family unit has disintegrated since women have etched their own space in the man’s world.  Now computers and tape recorders read to children in place of parents, thereby causing neglect of the love and respect factor.  Children are not taught to love and respect because they are raised by friends and babysitters.  The increased amount of knowledge available makes kids feel smarter than their elders.  They believe knowledge replaces experience and is more important.  They fail to realize that experience and not book knowledge is the true teacher.  Therefore, respect for elders is lost.  Because of the pressures and stress of the fast-paced lifestyle necessary to survive in today’s society, little things like fishing with grandpa have little or no value anymore.  People are more concerned with how many errands they can run in one day and how much money they can earn than with planning a family picnic.  Materialism is obviously overpowering humanism and appreciation for nature.  Such a materialistic outlook can only lead to immorality because materialism completely deviates from the principles of the bible which are the only basis of right and wrong conduct that exists.  Since religion is being replaced by science and the need for God by money, moral standards are being diluted.  Modern-day children lack appreciation and have only expectations.  Modern conveniences like dishwashers, microwave ovens, and cars facilitate life.  Walking two miles to school through rain and snow and doing three hours of chores before breakfast are unheard of today.  Since things come too easily to today’s children, they are much more improvident, squandering, and wasteful.  As a painful but honest look reveals, the flowers are fading, wilting, and drying up through the generations.

Where have all the flowers gone p1

Where have all the flowers gone p2