12/14 Thirsty Thursday Quote!


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Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don’t practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us — and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along.

~ Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection February 1st, 1987

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MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s Best Christmas Albums


Image result for Christmas in Boston

Image result for Christmas in Boston

Image result for brace yourselves christmas is coming

What’s up folks?  Christmas is less than two weeks away, so we got some more holiday-themed posts coming soon.  It already snowed in Massachusetts and the temperature is already dropping.  Looks it’s safe to that we must brace ourselves because winter is coming (Game of Thrones reference FTW!).

Image result for Christmas Albums

Image result for Christmas Albums

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s nothing better than turning on the Christmas songs.  Christmas classics like ‘Jingle Bells’ or Frosty the Snowman’ always lift my spirits during the season.  As I got older, I shied away from the traditional classics and aimed for some unique albums.

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Some albums came from pop culture while others were from my favorite type of music.  Whatever the case may be, each Christmas-themed album takes me back to a better time.  It’s time I discussed some of my favorite Christmas albums I discovered over the years.

Here are some original Christmas albums to check out this year:

Jingle All the Way – Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

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The first album featured was one I discovered weeks ago during one my writing seshes.  The progress jazz-bluegrass band from Nashville, Tennessee released this Christmas album on September 20th, 2008.  With classics like Silent night and a bluegrass take on Guaraldi’s track ‘Linus and Lucy’, fans will be sure to have a rocking Christmas rocking out to some Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.  Be sure to add this to your music library if you want to add some country flair to your Christmas if you want to have a rootin-tootin good time!

A Very She & Him Christmas – She and Him

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Shifting away from the country side and we enter the hipster group that is She and Him (who consists of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward).  Deschanel and M. Ward band together to create their first Christmas albums A Very She & Him Christmas.  The duo band together to sing notable tracks like ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.  Hipsters who are looking for more underrated and trending Christmas albums should check out A Very She & Him Christmas this year.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guaraldi

Image result for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack

Image result for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack

Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas features Christmas classic with a kick of jazz.  I love watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year and this soundtrack complements the TV special so well. Some tunes are just instrumental jazz while others feature chorus from the Peanuts gang (like ‘Christmas Time is Here’).  This is one soundtrack you should listen to multiple times for Christmas.

Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens

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Another indie artist that released a Christmas-themed album is Sufjan Stevens.  Sufjan Stevens released Songs for Christmas back in November 21st, 2006, a five-EP boxset featuring Christmas songs and carols recorded by him between 2001-2006.  The boxset contains over two hours of tracks, so you’ll never run out of Christmas goodness.  Check out Songs for Christmas is you’re looking for a boxset jam-packed with Christmas tunes!

Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas Soundtrack

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For the final album pick, I have to bring out the soundtrack to Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  This classic story (and I mean the ANIMATED version, NOT the cheesy live-action film!) of the Grinch finding the true meaning of Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas special.  The song ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ provides lengthy and wordy description of how horrendous he truly is (I STILL wouldn’t touch him with a 39 & ½ foot pole!).  If you love the story of The Grinch, then you’ll love this Christmas album.

That’s it for my choice of Christmas albums this year.  Some featured cartoons, while others had a notorious hipster duo.  Whatever the case may be, Christmas songs will live on forever.  Music styles are changing, yet the traditional tunes of Christmas stay the same.  Who knows what new Christmas album will be released next.

Until then, check back for more Christmas goodness here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Merry Christmas everyone!

The Loopy Landmark of LSD


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Here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar, we discuss many topics around drug use.  It’s no secret that drugs make their way into the conversation once in a while.  Alcohol and cannabis are the main ones that are routinely discussed (there’s a whole category that’s been dedicated to cannabis since last year!).  While many drugs come with bad PR reps, there are times that we dig up a PR miracle here and there.

Image result for LSD Tabs

Image result for LSD Tabs

A few weeks ago, we took a look at how businesses are changing the way they work through alternative methods (you can go back to that article here).  The one component of that post that we really dug into was about employees taking small doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).  Employees working in the creative industry, especially those residing in Silicon Valley, have been micro-dosing LSD as a unique method of problem-solving.

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As far-fetched as this idea sounds (and this REALLY takes the cake!), microdosing LSD has shown some proven benefits for many employees.  Workers who ingest small doses of acid find it easier to get into the work zone, have magnificent outbursts in personal and work projects, and their overall work becomes much more fun.  The PR miracle seen in this scenario is that the employees will do a better job and they will find it much more interesting.  Better quality work means more audiences will follow the brand.

Image result for LSD Art

Image result for LSD Art

So how did we get here?  How is it that something notorious like LSD became another tool for the creative departments?  What kind of waves have the acid culture made here in American society?  Is there any similarities with the LSD culture and cannabis culture?

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Image result for Dr. Albert Hofmann 1938

To start, let’s begin with a bit of history.  Dr. Albert Hofmann discovered LSD back in November 16th, 1938.  While researching lysergic acid derivatives, he successfully synthesized LSD.  He set aside the chemical for almost five years until he decided to re-examine it on April 16th, 1943.

Image result for lsd alice in wonderland

Image result for lsd alice in wonderland

While he was re-synthesizing LSD, he accidentally ingested a small amount and discovered its powerful effects.  He drifted off into what was described as a Alice In Wonderland-type fantasy of fantastic pictures and extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.  After only two hours, the conditions faded away.

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In just only three days letter, Hofmann ingested 250 mg of LSD while riding his bike (which is now known as ‘Bike Day’ on April 19th).  This was the first intentional LSD trip recorded in America.

Dr. Albert Hofmann continued to ingest small doses of LSD throughout his life.  He always hoped that people would find use for the chemical.

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Image result for 1950s LSD experiment

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Throughout the 1950s, research on LSD became widespread in the field of psychiatry.  Mainstream media reported on this growing trend of LSD research and undergraduate psychology students that were experimenting with it as part of their education.  This trend became so popular that Time magazine published six positive reports on LSD between 1954 through 1959.

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From then on, there was extensive research and testing that was conducted on LSD.  Many patients (whether they knew or not!) were given small doses during their psychotherapy treatment.  One of those notable users was none other than legendary film star Cary Grant (which we’ll explore later on).  Psychiatrists were taking the drug for recreational use and Dr. Timothy Leary’s experiments spread LSD’s usage to a bigger population.

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‘Turn on, tune in, drop out’ was the popular phrase during the counterculture era.  Many participants tuned into LSD’s magical properties and dropped out into their individual lives.  LSD, just like cannabis, was one of many aspects that modified the counterculture movement during the late 60s.  People rolled doobies (some while rolling on acid) to spark up the nationwide movement of peace and love.

Image result for LSD Research

Image result for LSD Research

Decades later and people are still tuning into ingesting doses of LSD.  Even though its considered a schedule I drug, LSD is still being widely studied all across the nation.  It’s no coincidence that people are still turning on, tuning in, and dropping out towards their individuality.

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This makes you wonder if the hippies weren’t just ON something, but they were ON TO something.  Many liberal ideas stemming from the counterculture movement such as legalization of cannabis, wider coverage of the LGBTQ community, and strong feminist leaders rising up continue to flourish more than forty years later.  We have accomplished a lot of work since then and continue to work towards those goals for the future.

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LSD may not receive as much coverage here, but it certainly holds a special place in the PR world.  The drug is currently being studied to this day even after halting all work since 1980.  We’re finding more and more surprising benefits of the drug even though it still remains at Schedule I.

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There’s a lot of undiscovered properties that have yet to be found within LSD.  All we need to do is go further down the rabbit hole to see what awaits us.

 

Dark Days of Netflix’s Dark


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Greetings, fellow readers!  The first snowfall of the month happened here in Massachusetts over the weekend.  Many places in the North Shore/Boston area got hit with 3-5 inches of snow.  Just in time for the Christmas season that’s coming up soon (in just TWO WEEKS!).

Image result for Netflix

Image result for Netflix

So what does a fellow PR pro like me do during a snow storm?  Binge-watch trending shows on Netflix, of course!  This was the perfect weekend to cancel plans and binge-watch the latest releases.

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One bizarre show I binge-watched contained a complex storyline within a span of ten episodes.  This show mixes Stranger Things and Twin Peaks, with a hint of German.  It’s time to discuss Netflix’s Dark.

Summary

Dark was released for Netflix on December 1st, 2017.  This German web series tells the tale of two young children disappearing in the German town of Winden.  The children’s disappearance brings light to double lives, fractured relationships, and a dark past of four families that reside there.  As the story unfolds, you will see a disturbing mystery that spans across three generations of families including the Nielsens, Kahnwalds, the Dopplers, and the Tiedermanns.

Image result for Netflix Dark

Image result for Netflix Dark

Time travel plays a major part of the series.  The nonlinear story line takes readers back to three sets of years: 1953, 1986, 2019 (all spanning 33 years apart from each other).  Each event that unfolds in the time period produces a drastic effect for the other time period.  This possibility of time travel, as highlighted within the show, leads to problems with casual order of events and facts of history.  These problems are often illustrated by the Grandfather Paradox.

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Throughout the series, Dark makes reference to the 33-year lunar cycle.  The solar year has approximately 365 days and the lunar year has about 354 days.  After every 33 solar years, there is a difference of one solar year between the lunar and solar calendar.  It’s explained multiple times in Dark (being that the years are spanned out 33 years apart).

Concluding Verdict

Image result for Netflix Dark

Image result for Netflix Dark

The ending verdict?  Dark was absolutely amazing to watch!  Even with the amount of lemon skunk cannabis I consumed earlier, I truly enjoyed the ever-complex storyline.  This is one of those series that you really have to pay attention at all times.  You have to watch for when the story shifts during each time period (hint: look at the fashion trends and you’ll figure it out!).  These shifts in time period made for a truly mind-boggling mystery that unraveled soon enough.

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It may not have the ‘upside-down’ concept like Stranger Things, but Dark provides a twisted secret in the forest.  Better yet, Dark is a more mature version of Stranger Things (what with the gruesome family history in Winden).  Dark also had that small-town, mine-shaft community similar to Twin Peaks.  The Netflix series was different from Twin Peaks in the sense that these disappearances were through a more complex and real occurrence.

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In the end, Dark is definitely worth checking out.  The nights are getting longer and the weather is growing colder, so this is definitely a Netflix series worth binge-watching.  If you long for Stranger Things, then Dark should be able to fill that hole in your heart for the upside-down world.

Pull up your warmest blankest and get ready to binge-watch the darkest Netflix thriller Dark.