Journalism Project

Monday, November 29, 2010

David Castagno
Com 251

“One of the only realistic ways, I see, of changing the law [drinking age] is to break it and call attention to it, I mean dissent is, the highest form of patriotism,” says John Doe an anonymous Flagler College student who was caught by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) for making and selling fake IDs to minors.

Fake IDs are very common on college campuses, from amateur, barely believable laminated ones, to professionally made IDs with a holographs and scanable barcodes, they are everywhere. Students around college campuses will tell you that the reason fake IDs are as common as they are, is because of the drinking age. Many like Doe, agree that the only way to address the situation is to bring to attention in the most blatant way possible, by breaking it.

But for others fake IDs are just a way to prove that you are not yet mature enough to drink. “If you are ready to drink, then why do you want and ID, that will just encourage you to go out, get belligerent, and make a fool of yourself, that doesn’t sound too mature in my book,” said Dina O’ Connor over a phone interview. O’ Connor a freshman at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA went on to state,” I’ve seen way to many people get in big trouble over fake IDs and I don’t want to end up like them.”
According to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control COV 18.2-204.1. any persons who possess, use or distribute fake IDs can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in a fine up to $2,500 and/or jail time up to 12months imprisonment. So why would someone risk it all? Money? Popularity? Ease?

Well according to Doe, “It was working for a while, I was paying my rent, but somewhere along the way, I guess, I just became too concerned about the money, and not who I was dealing with and how well I knew them, then I got caught.” Doe, unbeknownst to him, sold two fake IDs to a pair of undercover ATF agents who then acquired a warrant and told him to turn himself in. He did just that.

“Yeah sure I have a fake, most of the people I know do. But just because we have them doesn’t mean we use them every chance we get,” says Jane Doe another anonymous Flagler College student, “we actually use them very responsibly if anything.”
When approached and asked why she has a fake ID if she rarely uses it Jane stated, “the whole reason I got one, is because a majority of the people I hang out with are older than me and if I didn’t have one I would never be able to go out and socialize with them.” This fairly reasonable answer, is still against the law and could still find Jane some serious trouble, but many students and minors in particular are risking their futures so they can have some fun with friends.

Now not all minors may use their fake IDs the same, but one thing they do all have in common is a majority of those with fake IDs disagree with the drinking age of 21 and feel that it should be changed. But what do older members of the community feel, do they, like the young adults of today feel like the law should be changed?

Rosalie Stanford of Phoenix, AZ, who was a young girl during Prohibition, recalls the violence and high tensions of the Prohibition era, “Do I think that the drinking should be lowered to 18, maybe, if they can take a bullet for the U.S. then why can’t they take a shot.” This clever play on words describes Rosalie’s attitude towards the drinking age but when told about fake IDs Rosalie said, “if they can get a fake ID and purchase alcohol illegally, why not just lower the age and eliminate the middle man completely, take the crime away from the criminal and you are left with a failing illegal ID industry.”

After all is said and done, many believe that the reason the fake ID industry is so lucrative is because of need and necessity of the fake ID for minors. Many people propose that a lower drinking age could eliminate the fake ID industry and even help many in the struggling economy. But only the future will tell whether the lucrative business of fake IDs will prosper or die with the drinking age.

John Mahlow Bio

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My cousin Nick doing some damage in his second amateur MMA fight at Rumble at the Racetrack in St. Augustine, FL October 16, 2010.

Self Examination: Why Am I Here

Monday, July 26, 2010

Well it certainly has been a while since my last post. I actually had no intentions to write on this blog again. But due to recent circumstances I feel that it is well over due, I feel that some self reflection might do me some good. So with that I ask myself the same question a professor my freshman year at college asked me, why are you here? Yes David why are you here? It is a strange feeling asking and answering your own question. But I realized that after some self examination, I am one of the many persons who is completely lost, one of the few who still believes in love, and one of the few who can say he is completely and utterly head over heels about girl. So again when asked why am I here, my answer changes from huh? to ah yes, let me explain. I David am here because two people fell in love, my parents. And because of this love I was created and given an absolutely wonderful life. But somewhere along the line I realized that not only am I here because two people fell in love, but because I myself was to fall in love, and I most certainly did that. I found the one who makes want to wake up everyday, the one who I want to grow old with, and the one who can never do wrong. But I am sure you, the reader, are asking yourself, what about the self examination you spoke of, and this I say is coming. I may have found the girl worth living for, my one and only, and my forever and always, but because of this I am constantly questioning myself. Constantly asking myself why she is with this average Joe, why, when she can do so much better, is she with me? I tell myself that there is no room for error, this is the one, and one slip up could mean the end. And unfortunately this is completely true. I have made mistakes, I have done things that should ruin me, I have seen what my actions do, and for that I resent myself. But I know that even though my actions have skewed from the path, my heart and love for her has not. I am sorry for all that I have done, I am sorry for all my flaws as a human, I am sorry for not being what you want. But after thinking and writing this self reflection, I realize that all I want is to make you happy, all I want is to sacrifice for you, all I want is to love you. So there it is a little self examination mixed with a little self resentment. And because I have come to realize that I am here because of Love the love that created me, and the love that I will give away. And I can assure you I will give it away, I have given it away, to a beautiful girl who is my forever and always.

Far Cry From Perfect

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Here is a multi media project I did for my Mass Communications class, thanks for a great semester Professor Eaton.

Adventures In Peru

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's a little odd entering a public national park from the back; we actually had to go through the exit of Machu Picchu in order to get our passes stamped. It's strange, but if you're able to just walk there from the backside, you could get into Machu Picchu for know, if you're willing to hike through the Andes for days on end. Yeah...come to think of it, I'd pay the 20 bucks instead. Once we got in, we checked our bags into this storage area and I said adios to my wonderful walking stick. I wasn't about to drag it back onto a plane or anything and the damn thing was as dirty as I was. It was mercifully placed into the giant stack of used walking sticks outside the front gate where they probably turn them into roofs in those shanty town houses in the area. While we were waiting for Willow, our Peruvian guide, to gather up all the people, I went and bought an ice cold soda....the most refreshing drink of my life. We sat around watching all the strange new tourists come in...there was this strange Asian chick who was wearing this face-covering visor and a black scarf on her head; it made her look like Darth Vader. All she was missing was the asthma. Why are Asian tourists so damn weird? Well, it took Willow another hour to gather everyone up, which started to upset Tim, one of the hikers, to no end. He had wanted to wander around before it got crowded and he started complaining to no one in particular that he hadn't hiked all this way to hang out with the damn train tourists...that sounded rather elitist, but I can understand the sentiment. Although his fears turned out to be unfounded; it really doesn't get that crowded. It isn't Disneyland or anything, they have a cap on the total tourists allowed. Once we got started we moved down through the terraces and Willow started his little spiel about the history of this mystery city called Machu Picchu.
This is going to include some historical facts, so you can just skip over this paragraph if you have the attention span of a guinea pig. It seems that Hiram Bingham was a scientist from Yale searching for the lost jungle city of the last of the Incas which Manco Inca retreated to after his defeat by Pizarro, Vilcabamba. He had been asking various locals for old cities or ruins and he finally happened upon a group who referred to something they called the old mountain, or "Machu Picchu." When he stumbled upon it, he figured it wasn't this legendary city of Vilcabamba as it wasn't big enough, but at 5 square kilometers, it was quite the amazing discovery on its own. There were never any records about this city having been built or even used, so much of what was discovered about it had to come from archeological digs and lots of guesswork. It seems that this city was primarily used for religious ceremonies and as I stated before, it acted as a giant calendar in which they were able to determine their seasons.
So, about this time, we continued on into the actual city itself and Willow preceded to show us many of the important structures and locations. We started with the main room in which the sun would shine into one of two windows determining the Winter or Summer Solstices. There was a giant altar which apparently used to house a large golden medallion and would reflect the light in some meaningful way. I dunno...there ain't no medallion there now and I have no idea what the hell they would do with this reflection if there was one. At this point there was a good contrast between their two building styles; the common one of gathering various stones and placing them together with mortar which is effective but ugly, and the Inca style which consisted of finely shaped stones that perfectly interlock with each other without the need for mortar. It looks very professional and is quite aesthetically pleasing; I can see why the Incas demanded this version. It's like the difference between a 3 thousand dollar paint job and a Mako $199 special. We were taken into this particular room which was reserved for, what they could tell, the head priest and learned about several interesting items. The first was two carved bowls into the earth which were then filled with water and would reflect the stars at night; they used it to tell to future and all that other mumbo jumbo. It must have been the easiest way to isolate certain sections of the sky for in depth viewing. The second was even more entertaining; it was a private bathroom built just for the residents of the house. There was a little room with a hole in the back wall which leads to an irrigation gutter that used to have permanent running water. You'd just do your business in the whole, then washed away down the hillside through the center of town. Nice. To be honest, it's more high tech than several current bathrooms I've seen in this country. I'm not sure what my obsession with ancient toilets is, but I find them fascinating. I think that's one aspect of modern life we take far too much for granted.
We finally began to walk about the courtyards and ventured up to one of the most popular spots in Machu Picchu; the giant sundial. There is this enormous sundial perched upon the highest point of the mountain which at one time was one of the most famous sites in this place. So famous that many commercials were filmed using shots from this iconic structure; one too many it seems. Some Peruvian beer company was filming a shot from a helicopter and lost the camera right out the window. By pure freak chance it smashed into the high spot on the dial pointing south and snapped it right off. Apparently, they're not familiar with super glue here because it was never fixed, so now it's just a broken dial...or a stopped clock, I suppose. Speaking of helicopters; there used to be this huge ceremonial altar in a large clearing right below from the sundial, but it was torn down and nobody took pictures beforehand and now it can't be replaced. Ironically, it was torn down to make room for a helicopter to land so the President of Spain could visit without taking the train. Oh crushed our civilization and stole all the gold from our country, no problem, we'll bust up our priceless artifacts so you can deface it with a helicopter...sometimes I don't understand these people. They’re way too forgiving. While we were up there, Colin was goofing around and almost stepped right off the ledge which was a good 200 feet down; I suppose this is what I should have seen as foreshadowing, but I didn't realize that moments from then I was gonna have to help save someone's life.
That sounded a little dramatic, but the incident was quite dramatic for Brett, my fellow traveler. As we were walking along the ledge leading to countless terraces, our guide Willow began talking about this particular stone which looked as though it had a face. I was joking how it didn't really have a nose and was proof that aliens had built Machu Picchu...Willow wasn't amused, however. Stupid Quechuan pride. Anyways, Brett figured he'd take a picture just like the other 20 people in our group(including yours truly) and he glanced behind him to make sure he had footing...unfortunately, the grass all sort of runs into each other regardless of whether the ground is your level or 50 or so feet down. The level where we were dropped about 20 feet or so...well, he takes a step back, then another as he's framing his shot...then he realizes his back foot just stepped into nothing...Willow was the first to notice as he was facing us so with his catlike reflexes, he instinctively reaches out and grabs Brett's arm...unfortunately, Willow also weighs about as much as a cat, so now Brett and Willow are about to plummet over the ledge. Mike from Arizona was standing right in front of Brett and he blindly reaches out at this point and grabs a hold of his shirt, which does nothing to slow Brett’s fall but stretch out the shirt...stupid dri-fit stretch this point I finally realize what's happening, and being on Brett's left side I actually set my feet and grab a hold of his other arm. So there we are, suspended over the ledge like a bad Wily E. Coyote cartoon, when we hear Willow's walking stick strike the ground; I almost expected to see a puff of smoke or something. The sound finally awakens my survival instincts and I heave backwards with the added strength from adrenaline of fear. Luckily, this sends us all tumbling back onto each other into a pile, but more importantly, the safety of the main level. Granted, it was only 20 feet or so, but Brett would have most likely landed straight on his head had we not put together our Power Ranger rings and pulled him from the precipice. After we peered down at the bottom of our near fall, I turned to Brett and said, "You owe us a beer, man."