Thursday, July 12, 2012

From Chocolate to Morphine

The book I recommend when I get asked for drug information at the library is From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know about Mind-Altering Drugs.

Andrew Weil, M.D., and Winifred Rosen write, "Drugs are here to stay... We have tried to make this book accessible to young people by keeping our language and ideas simple and straightforward." Here is their list of chapter titles:
1 Straight Talk at the Start
2 What is a Drug?
3 Why People Use Drugs
4 Relationships with Drugs
5 Types of Drugs
6 Stimulants
7 Depressants
8 Psychedelics, or Hallucinogens
9 Marijuana
10 Solvents and Inhalants; Deliriants; PCP and Ketamine
11 Medical Drugs; Herbal Remedies; Smart Drugs
12 Problems with Drugs
13 Alternatives to Taking Drugs
14 Final Words

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote the Coffee Cantata around 1732, when the new drink began to leave the male society of coffee houses in Germany and invade private homes, where ladies began to consume it. In the cantata, the father is angry because his daughter is a coffee addict... here are a few excerpts from their dialogue:

Father: O wicked child! Ungrateful daughter, why will you not respect my wishes and cease this coffee drinking?
Daughter: Dear Father, be not so unkind; I love my coffee at least three times day, and if this pleasure you deny me, what else on earth is there to live for?
Daughter [continues in solo aria]: Far beyond all other pleasures, rarer than jewels or treasures, sweeter than grape from the vine. Yes! Yes! Greatest of pleasures! Coffee, coffee, how I love its flavor, and if you would win my favor, yes! Yes! let me have coffee, let me have my coffee strong.
Father: Well, pretty daughter, you must choose. If sense of duty you have none, then I must try another way. My patience is well nigh exhausted! Now listen! From your dress allowance, I will take one half. Your next birthday should soon be here; no present will you get from me.
Daughter: ... how cruel! But I will forgive you and consolation find in coffee...
Father: Now hearken to my last word. If coffee you must have, then a husband you shall not have.
Daughter: O father! O horror! Not a husband?
Father: I swear it, and I mean it too.
Daughter: O harsh decree! O cruel choice, between a husband and my joy. I'll strive no more; my coffee I surrender.
...[The daughter sings a melancholy aria of resignation.]
Tenor: ... The crafty little maiden has quite made up her mind, that, ere she gives consent to marriage, her lover must make a solemn promise that she may have her coffee whenever and wherever she pleases.

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