Dog Bites

Flashback
"MEDICAL ALERT," fliers seen around town say. "A form of tattoo called 'Blue Star' is being sold to school children. It is a small piece of paper containing a blue star. They are the size of a pencil eraser and each star is soaked with L.S.D. ... The drug is absorbed through the skin simply by HANDLING THE PAPER ... This is a new way of selling acid by appealing to young children. These are laced with DRUGS ... These are known to react quickly and some are laced with strychnine."

Sound familiar? It should. Here's what the 1994 book LSD: Still With Us After All These Years, by Leigh A. Henderson and William Glass, says about this particular urban folk tale:

"A persistent myth is the 'Blue Star tattoo' legend, which for more than a dozen years has circulated in communities in the United States and England. Sometimes in newspapers, and often in the form of anonymous fliers, these stories warn of children's transfer tattoos impregnated with LSD. These fliers warn that children risk fatal LSD trips from licking these tattoos or absorbing LSD through the skin. The source of the confusion is clear -- descriptions of blotter acid (paper printed with cartoon characters) sound similar to descriptions of transfer tattoos. LSD, however, is neither fatal nor absorbed through the skin. The DEA has repeatedly investigated these rumors and found them to be unsubstantiated."

Military Exercises
After the Board of Education voted 4-3 last week to continue the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in the city's high schools, opponents blasted the program's militaristic bent and the "homophobic indoctrination" students undergo as members of a branch of the armed services. But, according to one member of the school board who voted for continuing JROTC, many students don't see it that way. More than half of the 1,500 kids in the program, Jill Wynns maintains, "take JROTC as an alternative to PE." So even if JROTC were abolished, Wynns holds that the savings would be insignificant, for teachers (whose salaries comprise most of the $805,000 annual JROTC budget) would still have to be hired to handle all the kids changing from GI fatigues into gym sweats. As for those locker-room-shy teens who'd rather face a corporal than a coach, "We'd welcome the money to develop other programs, but it's not there," Wynns says, noting that few other courses in the school system get a $234,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Hip Hop
Due to the cold, relentless winter rains, the flea population enjoyed a much longer dormant period and laid millions more eggs than in previous seasons. And now they're hatching faster than you can say calamine lotion.

A local exterminator company called Fleabusters reports an epidemic unseen in years. "We're getting calls from everywhere," said a Fleabuster who answered the phone last week. "People get them because they jump on pets, they come in through open windows and open doors, and they hop on pants legs -- they love to hop on pants legs."

And just try getting rid of the pesky ankle-biters. Pet stores recommend eating brewer's yeast (fleas don't like the taste); using commercial chemical "bombs" (but most kill only adult fleas and not the eggs); tossing your vacuum cleaner bag with each use or putting a flea collar inside so the fleas won't breed in it; and, of course, calling professionals to do the killing for you, at $90 to $300 a pop. But professionals won't do all of the work. Said one Fleabuster: "We tell people to vacuum three times a week for five weeks, then you'll notice a tremendous change." And a cleaner house than ever before.

By Ellen McGarrahan, John Sullivan, and Amy Linn

 
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