Originally Published: July 11, 2005 5 a.m.
Quickly now – what is the difference between coca, cocoa, and cacao? You learned this in seventh grade geography but probably forgot already, and you need to know so you can tell candy from cocaine.
Cacao is a small tree, originally found in Mexico, and they use its seeds to make chocolate. Farmers grind the cacao seeds into a fine brown powder that we call cocoa. It has some medicinal properties, but it mainly goes into chocolate candy and ice cream. Chocolate rates an 8 on the dangerous foods scale because women get addicted so easily.
Coca, on the other hand, is a South American bush that has leaves that make you high. The natives chew raw coca leaves, or make tea with them. Others refine coca through various stages, with the ultimate product being cocaine – which some Americans think is fun to snort, shoot, smoke or swallow. It's almost as addicting as chocolate.
Then we have another narcotic called codeine, but don't confuse it with cocaine because codeine comes from opium, which comes from poppies. Afghanistan is the world's largest grower of opium poppies. In fact, its primary export is opium headed for the drug trade in the U.S.
Now, aren't you glad we cleared that up?
(By the way, another word you should know is narcosensual, which applies to women eating chocolate. In layman's terms, it means an orgasm of the taste buds.)
Something pleasantly perplexing is going on among Courier readers. I can't figure it out. Maybe you can help me.
The response to my previous two columns was slightly amazing. The June 13 column asked anyone to explain what Christian values are. That prompted 26 e-mails, plus letters, phone calls, and face-to-face discussions.
One person was quite negative. He said that I have a sick mind. A few made honest attempts to answer the question about which values are Christian. As you might guess, nobody agreed with anybody else on that.
A few asked me questions; such as, did I really mean to say that all churches disregard some of Paul's teachings? (Yes, I did.) The rest of the communiqués were mainly complimentary about the column in general.
The next column was about my transition from Southern Baptist to agnostic (or skeptic), and also expressed my concern about fundamentalists thinking they should run the country. That brought another 23 e-mails, plus more letters, phone calls, and face-to-face talks. Some people mentioned having had a similar experience. Several predicted that I would get hate mail, but there was only one negative response – from the same person again.
I asked Editor Ben Hansen if he would be interested in looking at the replies, just to get a feeling about the sentiments in the community. He said yes, so I forwarded the e-mails to Ben. If you doubt what I'm reporting here, check with him.
All of this adds up to more than 60 responses to the two columns, with only one person being truly negative. That amazes me. All the others were favorable in one way or another. I replied to each letter – and thanked the lone critic for helping keep things in perspective.
Does this mean that 98 percent of the readers agreed with my thoughts on religion? Of course not.
Are most people so kind-hearted they wouldn't write a letter disagreeing with a columnist? No.
Then why was the response to those columns so overwhelmingly positive? It really intrigues me. I'd like to know your opinion. If you disagreed with the columns but were reluctant to say so, tell me why.
I know that 98 percent of our Courier readers will never agree on anything, especially religion, so what's going on here?
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