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Halfway-honest art

Dear Editors,

I try to keep my sense of humor about the whole art scene around these parts. I hope I don’t come off as being too sarcastic or cynical. I’m relatively happy to make my meager living as a simple folk artist, primarily in wood sculpture of a whimsical and humorous nature. Most of us have a deeper and darker side, too. I’ve had brief illusions of being a fine artist but generally after a Goodnight’s sleep, that part of me realizes that I just don’t have the right connections and stuff.

Now after reading the article on “The Art of Rehabilitation,” I’ve got to wonder if I’m just too close to the wrong place at the wrong time. La Lala County? I can appreciate the value of art therapy. I guess I’ve been trying to rehabilitate myself with art for several decades now and trying to make a living at it too.

Art has given me at least an illusion of a sort of useful place in society and possibly helped to keep me out of prison along with a deep yearning to be free in the USA. Well, it ain’t getting any easier especially around here now. A lot of people coming here, now retired, are wanting to be artists in their spare time; trying to sell or give away their stuff and now we are making more artists out of would-be prisoners and putting their stuff into a pretty saturated market, as a community service? This program is not helping us halfway honest hard working artists on the outside

A little art therapy can be a good thing. Maybe some spray cans and some graffiti art inside or around the prison would be fun. How much fun are you supposed to be havin’ at community service?

A little more therapy on the end of a shovel or picking up trash or some of those programs like they have down there in Tent City, Ariz., might be better community service for rehabilitation. Heck three hots, a cot ( I’ll bet it’s a bed) and art therapy: Six months to complete your work and a story to go with it? Maybe I’m doing this art business the hard way. I ought to check in with that Useful Public Service Program over there in La Lala County and see if we could work out a 60/40 split or something, if I could get in the program without breaking any serious laws or going through the court system.

I also have a lot of useful ideas on the arts and fund raising, based on my experience. If anyone would care to hear more about them or if possibly there is a high-paying, part-time consultant position available, let me know.

– Dave Sipe, Mancos


Our chemical legacy

Dear Editors,

It was no surprise to me to see the March 11 Associated Press article about drugs and lotions in our water systems. As a nurse, it was always facility policy to dump unused drugs in the toilets. If a person died or was discharged from a facility, there were often numerous packets of unused drugs left over for that person. The distributors of the prescription drugs refused to take any unused medications back (primarily for monetary and safety reasons). The end result was any unused medications were to be disposed off via the sink or toilet.

Likewise, many lotions and other health/beauty products pose a risk to the water supply. One needs to look no further than the list of ingredients in such products to see that the use and disposition of these products may be harmful to the person and environment. For example, one common shampoo that calls itself an “herbal shampoo” contains only three herbs and 38 chemicals.

One such common chemical contained in shampoos and like products is propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is used in many health, beauty and even food items (especially cakes and muffins). What is propylene glycol you ask? Propylene glycol is a petroleum product whose various uses include anti-freeze, de-icer, latex, paint, laundry detergent, and yes, salad dressing and cake mixes (yummy!)

Studies have linked propylene glycol to problems with the respiratory passages, nasal irritation, and it degreases and dries the skin. If ingested in significant quantities, propylene glycol can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is also documented to cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. Researchers have also linked it to be mutagenic and credit it as a contributor to cardiac arrest. Some Japanese studies show propylene glycol damages cell DNA (genetic code).

Another common ingredient in beauty/health products is ammonium lauryl sulfate. This substance contains ether and is also easily absorbed by the skin. Studies have shown it to cause adverse reactions in humans, to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and to contain

unacceptable levels of toxins even in the smallest exposure amounts. Researchers have said ammonium lauryl sulfate contains a synthetic solvent named DEA (diethanolamine), again a major component of detergents, humectants, brake fluids, industrial degreasers and antifreezes. It is widely accepted in the scientific community that ammonium lauryl sulfate is harmful for the liver, kidneys and pancreas. It likely causes cancer in these organs. It also irritates the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. It is a health risk, especially to infants and young children. It forms nitrosamines known to be carcinogens and is hazardous & toxic.

Yet another chemical in this very popular shampoo is hydantoin DMDM. It is used in the synthesis of lubricants and resins and is derived from methanol and also causes skin irritation. DMDM acts as a preservative and may release formaldehyde, another suspected carcinogen (rats develop cancer when exposed to this chemical).

Most of the chemical ingredients in our processed foods and health/beauty products are carcinogenic (cause cancer), neurotoxic (damage the nervous system), teratogenic (cause birth defects), and mutagenic (cause mutations). So one is not surprised to learn that our water is toxic due to the repeated and prolonged introduction of these chemicals.

Likewise, most vitamins are synthetic (meaning they are made from petroleum) and contain toxic preservatives. Vitamins and other supplements are supposed to be beneficial for our health and well being but often times they contain chemicals harmful to us. Synthetic vitamins can elevate liver enzymes, causing damage to the liver, so one must be very careful in choosing what products to ingest.

There are products out there that are free from toxic chemicals and preservatives. Do yourself, your family and the environment a favor and start reading labels and be aware of what you are consuming or putting on your body and mixing in the water system. Knowledge is power. Once you become aware, you will notice the toxic chemicals in common everyday products we use in our daily lives, and you can begin to make wiser, safer purchases.

– Shannon M. Soignier, via e-mail


Public access, the lazy way

Dear Editors,

In this fast-paced world, it is not a surprise that many lazy people wish to access public lands using off-highway, motorized vehicles. If these users were to stay on the Forest Service roads and observe speed limits, there would not be an issue. However, they think once there is an open meadow or deep snow, they deserve free reign to go beyond these motorized areas. This is absurd. Using public land is a right belonging to the people, it is NOT the right of an ATV, snowmobile or helicopter. These inanimate objects do not have rights. Nobody is telling the users of these vehicles that they cannot use their public lands, they are told their machine cannot use them. Public lands are in place for humans to use, not their machines. Hoof-it.

– Jason Aweida, Mayday


A little more inflation-speak

Dear Editors,

In your opinion, will asset-market extreme mispricing be well-deterred, if and when real inflation-corrected asset-market price histories are well-apparent to the people? For example, see first and last charts in “Real Dow & Real Homes & Personal Saving & Debt Burden.” http://homepage.mac.com/ttsmyf/RD_RJShomes_PSav.html

– Ed Hamilton, Durango