Category Archives: drugs

Pacific Fishers, Owls, and Telepathic Gorillas

Pacific-Fisher horz

This week, two radio programs that I co-produce with my beloved partner Amy Gustin, will air on our beloved community radio station KMUD. First, at 5pm on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 27, KMUD will air the latest episode of Wildlife Matters. I just put the finishing touches on it this morning. Wildlife Matters #3 will focus on the Pacific Fisher (Martes pennanti) an elusive, formidable, and unbelievably cute forest carnivore.

fisher in tree

Mourad Gabriel, fisher expert, and Executive Director of the Integral Ecology Research Center generously invited us into his home, and allowed Amy to interview him at length.

Mourad_fisher_UCDW-716x1024

He told us everything we needed to know about fishers, and the crisis they face due to extensive use of rat poison by marijuana growers, hiding-out in the fisher’s deep-forest habitat. We spent more than an hour seated around the dining room of his family’s home, while his wife, Greta Wengert, also a Ph.D biologist, attended to their infant child in another room, to give us some quiet time for the interview.

greta wengert

The show came out great! We had more good material than we could fit in one half-hour show, so in next month’s show we will talk more about the problems associated with rat poison. Last Friday, we recorded a presentation by Maggie Rufo, representing two groups: The Hungry Owl Project,

hungry owl project

and RATS (Raptors Are The Solution).

raptors are the solution

Maggie Ruffo came to Arcata to address the Redwood Region Audubon Society, about the impacts of rat poison on owls, hawks, and other raptors, and to advocate for the use of owl boxes, wooden boxes constructed to owl-nest specifications, to attract owls, as part of an integrated pest control program.

owl box

In other words, encourage owls to move in, and they can help solve your rodent problem. Then you don’t need to spend money on rat poison.

owl eating rat

She gave an excellent talk, and as a bonus, the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center brought some of their ambassador birds, so we got to mingle and chit-chat with a live: red-tailed hawk, a great horned owl, and a western screech owl. It was a noisy room, but I think we have enough good material that we can use a little from column A and a little from column B to make another good show about the effects of rat poison on entire ecosystems, and we’ll look at the campaign to ban the sale of dangerous rodenticides in California.

poison eco consequences

The other show of ours to air this week, really deserves it’s own blog post.  Teaser:  It involves an interview with Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael.


The Ganjier’s Circular Reasoning

ganjier_

Lately, I’ve noticed a new circular tucked into the North Coast Journal, from our local SoHum cannabis dispensary, Wonderland Nursery. Even though we live in the heart of the marijuana industry, we were one of the last places in California without a dispensary, until Wonderland opened up a few years ago specializing in potted cannabis seedlings. I see from their circular that they now also dabble in edibles and concentrates.

shatter

I’ve never been to Wonderland, but I always enjoy hearing “The Ganjier” of Wonderland Nursery, Kevin Jodrey talk about marijuana. In my lifetime so far, I have listened to way too many people talk way, way, waaaayyyyyyy toooooo much about marijuana. Really, I love marijuana,and I’ve grown marijuana, but I don’t find gardening particularly interesting. I’m more interested in getting high, and when I get high, the last thing I want to hear, is some idiot drone on about how awesome this new strain of marijuana is. I get it. I’m stoned. It’s good pot, now shut-up about it.

shut up and smoke

But it’s different with The Ganjier. Kevin Jodrey really knows his cannabis, and he’s very articulate and well spoken. When I have the opportunity to hear him talk about marijuana, I take notes. So, of course, I read the editorials that appeared in the Wonderland Nursery circulars. I don’t think I’ve ever read an editorial in an advertizing circular before, but I’ve also never seen a circular advertizing marijuana plants before, so the Wonderland Nursery insert struck me as novel for a couple of reasons.

kjodrey-

Anyway, the first editorial I read from the Ganjier pointed out that as we move towards legalization of cannabis, the interests of the “cannabis cause” will diverge from those of the “cannabis industry.” I appreciate the heads up Kevin, but I’ve seen the cannabis cause, and the cannabis industry, and I don’t think the two could be any more divergent. The cannabis industry loved prohibition because prohibition made an easy to grow weed more valuable than gold.

marijuana-money1

The cannabis cause was made almost entirely of marijuana consumers. The people I met through High Times Freedom Fighters and Mass Cann all had jobs. Back then, people from the “cannabis industry” only joined the “cannabis cause” after they got busted. Some of us grew our own weed, but we supported the legalization movement with money we earned AT WORK, and we attended rallies, wrote letters, and went to meetings in our “free” time, AND we bought marijuana at outrageously high black market prices.

need money for weed

Thankfully, Jack Herer came along. Jack sold books, bumper-stickers and T-Shirts and taught people all over the country how to sell legalization. Thanks to Jack Herer, and his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, marijuana legalization became a business, and anyone could open a franchise. Jack taught us to sell legalization, and pretty soon, some people were making a living from it. That’s what turned the tide towards legalization. The cannabis industry had almost nothing to do with it.

Jack Herer at Ann Arbor Hash Bash 1990

The cannabis industry was busy making money, from us, the cannabis cause. They were buying big diesel generators, damming creeks and putting out rat poison. They were breeding better marijuana. I’ll give them that, but when it comes to legalization, the cannabis industry was not a big help, except for the fact that marijuana smokers everywhere really, really, resented the high prices, and that resentment motivated them to work for legalization.

too damn high

So, now that legalization seems inevitable, and the cannabis industry begins to rise up out of the muck of prohibition, it’s not asking “How may we help you?” Instead, it’s warning us that it may no longer have our best interests at heart. The Ganjier warns those of us who want to “free the weed” that the cannabis industry prefers to “expensive the weed.”

cost of cannabis

In the second editorial, however, The Ganjier laments all of the bad publicity that the cannabis industry has experienced lately. Why does the press always focus on the habitat destruction, the murders, the stream diversions, and the rat poison when there’s so much more to the cannabis industry than that? Look, one dispensary uses electric cars, the Ganjier tells us.

hemp car

The Ganjier thinks that the cannabis cause should help the cannabis industry with its little image problem. I don’t think so. Here’s why:

why1

First, People should know that Humboldt County is a terrible place to grow cannabis. People should know that this is not farmland. We live in a forest. The land here is steep and poorly suited to agriculture. You cannot produce cannabis here economically, without the huge government subsidies known as prohibition. This is not a place for farmers. This is a place where criminals go to hide their criminal activity. Now that cannabis is going legal, the cannabis industry should move out of the closet known as Humboldt County.

come out of the closet

Second, people should see the ugliness and the stupidity behind the current cannabis industry. People get killed. People get hurt. Lots of people get ripped off. Besides that, people in the cannabis industry do a lot of really stupid shit, like setting a camper on fire on the side of the road, or dropping a refrigerator off of the Alder Point bridge or leaving a truck full of diesel fuel parked in the riverbed.

truck in river

Finally, the cannabis industry has all of our fucking money. If the cannabis industry gave a fuck about anyone but themselves, not only could they have legalized pot, they could have financed a guerrilla army that would have already liberated this nation from the capitalist police state, once and for all. They don’t give a fuck. Instead, they want bigger trucks, wider TVs and newer smart phones. So fuck ‘em.

fuck em paccino

Listen, if the newly emerging legal cannabis industry wants help from the cannabis cause, the cannabis industry damn well better find a way to produce marijuana at a reasonable price. No marijuana is worth more than $50 an ounce, and I’d much rather see the current cannabis industry collapse as support the environmental destruction, violence, and stupidity that defines the cannabis industry today.

drug dealing dog


Lance Armstrong, Frank Zappa, Drugs and Society

lance armstrong1-horz

I heard on the radio that Lance Armstrong recently celebrated a birthday. I hope he had a nice birthday, and I wish him only the best. I really don’t give a fuck about sports, but I have a lot of respect for Lance as an athlete and as a human being. I don’t care what anyone says. The guy got struck down with a terrible disease, in the prime of his life and fought back to become one of the greatest athletes in history. Period, in case you didn’t notice that little dot at the end of that last sentence.

period

I don’t know why it bothers us when athletes use drugs. We sure don’t hold it against musicians. I’ve never heard anyone say: “I used to really love the Grateful Dead, until I found out that Jerry used drugs.

jerry marijuana

I can’t believe he would let us down like that. Now I think they suck, but hey, why don’t you come over and check out my collection of Ted Nugent records.” Not once have I ever heard anyone say that.

ted nugent

When it comes to music, we assume that anyone who is any good at music, uses drugs, at least I do. I was crushed when I found out that Frank Zappa didn’t use drugs. What a letdown that was. I used to think that Frank Zappa was this totally original psychedelic genius. I thought he must eat LSD every morning for breakfast to compose all of that freaky music.

FreakOut! fz-horz

Then I found out that he didn’t use drugs, and I began to realize that Frank was a geeky American kid with questionable taste, who really dug Edgar Varese, and some other classical weirdos, as well as blues, R+B and rock n’ roll, and he liked to make fun of people. He thought about musicians the way most people think about athletes. He wanted the best, and he drove them to play their best. He made his music as complicated as possible, and played it with a monstrously lascivious groove.

frank zappas band

Drugs had nothing to do with it. Well, drugs had nothing to do with creating it. I think drugs had something to do with why so many people love Frank Zappa’s music. On drugs, people often discover tremendous satisfaction and joy in listening, but when they’re not on drugs, they never shut-up long enough to experience that pleasure.

never shut up2

Thanks to drugs, a lot of people, who would have been just as happy to chew your ear off all night without regard for the music in the background, got too high to think of anything to say. In that stoned silence, they heard music, as if for the first time. Very soon, they realized how stupid most of it was, and began searching for more interesting things to listen to. In other words, drugs didn’t help Frank Zappa make music, drugs helped make Frank Zappa’s music popular.

zappa-conducting

Still I was a little disappointed to realize that all of Frank’s inspiration was earthly, even civilized, in origin, and that drugs, besides caffeine and nicotine, had nothing to do with it. We thought we were all connected in this wild other-worldly psychedelic experience, and Frank just thought we were a bunch of fucked up kids who didn’t get his music. In some ways Frank Zappa is the Lance Armstrong of music. Frank’s got nothing to be ashamed of, and neither does Lance. They both did amazing things in their field. Why should we give a fuck what they do, or don’t do, off-the-field?

frank_zappa 5-horz

Some people make a big deal about the fact that Lance Armstrong lied about using drugs. I don’t hold that against him at all. Everyone lies about using drugs. I’ve lied to my own mother about using drugs. “John, are you high on something?” she’d ask. “No!” I would reply. Why do people even ask? I’ve lied to teachers about drugs. I’ve lied to cops about drugs. I’ve lied to my boss about drugs. What business is it of theirs anyway? As long as drugs remain illegal, everyone will take them, and everyone will lie about them. It’s as simple as that.

everybody lies trust me

If I have one piece of advice for you, it is this. Assume that everyone you meet anywhere, any time, is both armed, and on drugs. I offer this advice for a few reasons: First, it’s true. Almost everyone is armed and on drugs. This is especially true in my neighborhood, but it’s pretty much true, pretty much everywhere. You may find exceptions, but I wouldn’t count on it.

i wouldnt count on it

Second, most of what is wrong with our culture comes, not from people being armed and on drugs, but from people assuming that other people are sane and competent, despite clear overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This is very dangerous. If you have chosen to have “elective surgery” It’s probably because you assume that the surgeon is competent and sane. If you knew he had a three tab a day Oxycontin habit and carried a lethal syringe full of digitalis in his lab-coat, that weird, but benign, grape-sized growth on the end of your nose might not seem so unsightly.

nose growth1

Would you get into a cab if you knew the driver was a paranoid speed-freak with an uzi under the drivers seat? Would you stop for dinner at a restaurant if you knew the waitress washed down her Prozac with a flask of sloe gin and kept a nickel-plated semi-automatic handgun in her purse, the cook was mainlining cocaine in the bathroom, with a revolver tucked into his boot, and the dishwasher is zonked on heroin and carries a big knife? Would you call the cops to investigate the burglary of your home if you knew they were all fucked up on bath salts and PCP? Of course not, but they are, and you do. What are you, crazy?

cop on pcp1

Third, and finally, if you heed this sage advice, and treat everyone you meet as though they are armed and on drugs, you soon realize that the best strategy in life is to stay the hell away from everyone, and do everything you need done, yourself. That may seem drastic, but it’s fucking crazy out there, and it’s time you faced facts, everyone you know and rely on is armed and on drugs, and just about to snap, and you don’t want to be there when it happens.

armed crazy and about to snap

Besides, doing things yourself is good for your sanity, and it increases your competence level. It doesn’t do anything about the drugs and the weapons and the craziness, but we could sure use more sanity and competence in this world. You see that when we realize how crazy and dangerous the world has become, and begin acting accordingly, we actually bring more sanity and competence into the world. In this way we use the bad craziness of modern civilization to heal, and strengthen ourselves.

bad craziness

So, lets learn this lesson from the greatest bicycle champion that ever lived, Lance Armstrong. It’s time to stop worrying about who is or isn’t using drugs. Let’s assume everyone is using drugs all the time. If you choose not to use drugs, that’s your business, and none of mine. Instead, let’s judge people by their sanity, and their competence. When it comes to winning the Tour de France, no one is more competent that Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong no longer contests doping charges


Drugs and Razors Don’t Mix

war against razors

A tweaker asked me for spare change on the street the other day. He was in bad shape. His eyes were bugging out. He was twitching. His clothes were dirty and torn and I could barely figure out what he was asking me. However, he had recently shaved his face, and most of his head, except for a thin Mohawk strip that was also cut pretty close to the scalp. That just boggled my mind. “What is wrong with kids these days?” I thought.

mohawk homeless

I mean, if I knew, when I woke up, that by 11:00AM, I’d be standing in front of the Shell station incoherently begging for spare change and weed, I sure as hell wouldn’t have bothered to shave first. Obviously this guy lost his job, his home, his mind, his dignity and his toothbrush months ago, but he’s still got that razor. What is he thinking? Where are his priorities? What’s he got against hair?

hate my hair

If I don’t absolutely HAVE TO shave, and I mean literally required, mandated or threatened with poison gas, I would never shave, or cut the rest of my hair for that matter. I never liked shaving. If it wasn’t required by my boss, or necessary to insure that my respirator fit tightly enough to protect me from welding fumes, I would never shave. I can’t understand why people shave so much, even when they don’t have to.

shaved-sorry-the-weight-of-manhood-was-just-too-much

Granted, it’s a little weird that we, as homo sapiens have so much hair on our heads and so little anywhere else, but that’s how we are. We’re weird looking apes with really hairy heads. That’s life. “Get used to it;” I say, but kids today don’t listen. Young people seem much too eager to divest themselves of their evolutionary hairitage, and this worries me.

caveman

Barbers have got to be making a killing! Every guy I see around here, under thirty, looks like they got their hair cut this morning, and there isn’t more than two weeks growth anywhere on their entire head. If they’re not completely clean-shaven, they’ve got some sculpted little high-maintenance topiary of a goatee. If they have it done, that’s way too much money thrown away like so many quarter-inch long pieces of hair around the barber’s chair. If they do it themselves, that’s too much time for a guy to spend staring at himself in a mirror. Either way, it’s too much.

barber attacks

I suspect this follicle-phobia also afflicts young women.

brazillian five cents

I’ve seen multiple ads for local salons offering Brazilian bikini wax service, and read recently that emergency room visits for “pubic grooming accidents” have skyrocketed in recent years. Emergency room visits… Remember, that’s how our parents found out what drugs were popular with us kids.

emergency room

Unless my young female readers start sending selfies, I’m not likely to have the opportunity to survey what young women are doing with their pubic hair, but now that the idea has occurred to me, I would very much like my young female readers to send selfies showing their pubic hairstyle. I need to know more.

 

send to:  sendselfieshavedorbushy@gmail.com

send to: sendselfieshavedorbushy@gmail.com

I suspect that these statistics reveal a trend, and the fact that this trend sends young people to hospital emergency rooms should trouble us all deeply. Do they think this looks good? A shaved head looks like a thumb with wings.

thumb with wings

A shaved pussy looks like Homer Simpson’s maw. Is that a hot look?

homer thong

Believe me, if I can see you pussy, it’s a hot look. Whether it’s shaved, bushy, braided, dyed, permed, sculpted or dread locked, if you are showing it to me, that’s hot. I can think of a couple of things I’d rather not see on a pussy, like sutures, an infected wound or even little dots of toilet paper with a spot of blood in the middle, so if you absolutely must shave your pussy, please be careful.

shavethebaby

Personally, I have never been offended by a woman’s body hair. Underarm hair definitely turns me on, and I don’t even care if you shave your legs.

hairy legs

I certainly wouldn’t complain about sex with a shaved pussy, but I’m not so sure about 5 o’clock shadows, or five-day stubble. I don’t want to get razor burn from a pussy.

razor burn remedies

I imagine that once you start shaving your pussy, you probably have to shave it again, pretty soon, no doubt increasing your chances of suffering one of those pubic grooming accidents that lands you in the hospital.

shaved here

Is any of this necessary? Any time you cut your hair, you bring sharp metal objects dangerously close to your own flesh. If you want to cut an eight-inch piece of hair down to four inches, you can hold the scissors four inches away from your body, giving you a four-inch safety margin.

hair cut safety margin

When you constantly, day after day, trim your one inch hairs down to half an inch and that sixteenth-of-an-inch of stubble that grows everywhere else down to nothin’ flat, you’re bound to cut an artery sooner or later.

shaving accident

This seems like risky behavior. I worry about people who cut their hair too much the way I worry about people who wash their hands too often. It seems a little neurotic. When kids cut themselves intentionally, that’s a sign of serious emotional problems. Young people who habitually wield sharp objects within an inch of their own flesh are clearly “at risk.” Something needs to be done.

youth at risk

Everyone should try to be as hair-positive as possible. Hair is a good thing. It’s a natural thing. Tell kids about the Indian trackers recruited by the army. The US Army recruited the best Indian trackers they could find, but once the Indians joined the army and traded their long hair for the standard military crew cut, they lost their ability to track. Hair is power. Hair is strength. Hair is healthy.

hair

I’ll do my best to set a good example, and whenever I can, I’ll remind young people that it’s OK to skip shaving. I’ll let them know that if they’re going on a drugged out bender, that’s fine, as long as they stay away from sharp metal objects. Drugs and razors don’t mix! There will be plenty of time to shave in rehab.

shave head-horz

If you were to express my philosophy of life in just one sentence it would be: Don’t mess with nature, or nature will mess with you. Nature gave me a hairy head, and I don’t mess with it. I can’t say I’m unhappy with the result. Looks have never been my strong suit, and the less I think about how I look, the happier I am. I imagine there’s a reason we have so much hair on our heads, and I trust the forces that shaped us as human beings through eons of evolution to be my personal stylist.

lygsbtd frace t-shirt


Bikini Weather Crisis

bikini weather crisis

I heard a pretty good radio show on KMUD this week. A local volunteer programmer failed to show up for his time slot, so they threw on an episode of Radio Ecoshock, which usually runs at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night. The show looked at why no one wants to talk about (or read about, presumably) Global Warming or Global Climate Change. The show featured guest George Marshall who has just written a new book called Don’t Even Think About It, about why it is so hard to get people to talk about Global Climate Change.

dont even think about it marshall

I haven’t read the book, but I can relate. In the ’90s I worked as a canvasser for Greenpeace. The science behind Global Warming was pretty solid even back then, and Greenpeace had an active campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It had something to do with “the Montreal Protocol,” but I don’t remember much more than that. We had pretty good campaign literature and everyone could easily understand the issue. Compared to endocrine disrupting chlorinated hydrocarbons, bio-accumulation of persistent toxins, or even the dirty side of nuclear power, Global Warming seemed like an easy sell.

climatebikini

Most of the people who worked in that office lived “car free” already. We knew vehicle exhaust was destroying the planet. We immediately understood the importance of the issue, and we all developed raps to explain Greenpeace’s strategy to stop Global Warming. We immediately recognized Global Warming as “the ubber-issue”, the issue that supersedes all current issues and spawns all future issues. We knew that Global Warming would define our lives, so we worked that campaign enthusiastically.

climate bikini

Unfortunately, Global Warming turned out to be a really tough sell when talking to the general public. When we told them that the Japanese were still hunting minke whales, it incensed them and made them angry. They were happy to give us money to stop them. When we told them that DuPont made carcinogenic plastics, pesticides and ozone destroying chemicals, as well as medical equipment and chemotherapy drugs, they said “go get ‘em” and wrote a check. When we explained that fossil fuels caused global warming through the greenhouse effect, and that we must, on a global scale, reduce the amount of fossil fuels we burn, or face catastrophic consequences, they just got depressed.

global warming hot gets hotter

They got it. That was the problem. They believed that Greenpeace could stop Japanese whaling ships. They believed that Greenpeace could pressure DuPont into phasing out CFCs. They believed Greenpeace could close down nuclear power plants. They knew that global warming meant something else entirely. Global warming meant we lost the war.

global-warming-proof-funny

By the early 1990’s we had lost a lot of environmental battles. Those were not the best of times for the environmental movement. We were used to not getting what we wanted. We were used to setbacks, but people still believed we were relevant. We still believed we were relevant. Global Warming meant we had failed. We could no longer claim we were swimming towards a distant shore. We had clearly been sucked out to sea.

lifeguard

With other issues, we can fix a problem, without challenging our underlying way of life. Saving whales or banning CFCs were little things we could do to fine-tune civilization, to make it more civilized. Global warming indicts civilization itself. Global Warming is the altimeter that tells us that we are plummeting, rather than flying. Global warming is not a problem, Global Warming is an indication of failure.

bikini-failure

Global Warming isn’t the only indicator of failure, by the way, here’s a short list, in case you haven’t been paying attention:
1. Overpopulation
2. Mass extinction and global wildlife population decline
3. Ocean acidification
4. Peak Oil
5. Peak Water
These “meta-crises” indict more than an industry, or a class of chemicals, or a technology, they indict our whole way of life.

no

If you think solar panels and electric cars will solve this crisis, you are dreaming. If you think there is a political solution, you’re delusional. We’ve blown it. We will not have a soft landing. I’m not saying that there’s nothing to be done; I’m saying that we’re doing everything wrong. Grassroots organizing isn’t working because democracy doesn’t work. Technology isn’t helping because capitalism doesn’t work. We cannot even conceive of what to do next because our culture doesn’t work.

climate bikini4

We need to have that realization. We need to realize that what we are doing here, as a global culture, does not work. Every man, woman and child, in all of civilization needs to know that they have been betrayed. Everybody needs to know that everything we know is wrong. If we don’t stop doing what we are doing, and what we’ve been doing for longer than anyone can remember, we will lose everything.

climate bikini1

That’s why people don’t want to think about Global Warming. That’s why people deny that Global Climate Change is real. That’s why even people who know that climate change is real, try to pretend that it’s really not that big of a problem.

climate bikini8

Nobody at a bar wants to hear about Alcoholics Anonymous.

fail thong

This is the only way of life any of us have ever known, and a lot of us like it, but it simply does not work. It never has, and it never will. As long as civilization persists, it’s appetite for energy guarantees that the effects of Global Warming will intensify still further, and persist far longer, with catastrophic consequences.

climate bikini too cold

Scientifically, we can expect the consequences of Global Climate Change to intensify as long as the levels of greenhouse gasses in the environment continue to rise. The question now becomes, how long will civilization persist in the face of Global Climate Change.

bikini question mark

Do we get smart and bail-out early, in hopes of surviving as a species, or do we plunder forth in the face of certain destruction, to join countless other species that have disappeared into extinction at our hands? From an environmental perspective, the sooner we abandon this crazy, dysfunctional, unsustainable global culture, the better.

dysfunctional


SOLUTIONS

solutions probs

Ok, I’ve had a lot of fun with the whole situation in Garberville, and I think the levity was completely in order, but a lot of people are very frustrated with the situation, and they want SOLUTIONS. So, I’m here to help, seriously, but we don’t get to solutions without doing some analysis first, and that includes taking responsibility for the disastrous consequences of our consumptive middle-class lifestyle, and it means taking responsibility for economic policies that have kept wages low, while housing, health-care, fuel and other costs soared. I don’t care whether you voted for Reagan or not, if you want solutions, take responsibility, otherwise we can just play the blame game till we’re blue in the face.

blame_game

The middle-class really needs to get over their Boomer era Populuxe expectations, especially the expectation that they will be surrounded by only middle-class people. We can’t all be middle-class, and really, not that many of us should be middle-class, ecologically speaking. It takes a lot of working-class people to support a single middle-class person, so we should expect to have many more working-class people than middle-class people. Get used to it folks, there are a lot of poor people around.

being-poor-3

On the other hand, it shouldn’t suck so much to be poor. Ever since Reagan, we’ve had this attitude that we should punish and humiliate the poor as much as possible, so that we might thereby motivate them to work harder to become middle-class. In reality, punishing the poor drives down wages and keeps housing prices high for everyone. Seeing desperately poor people on the street makes middle-class people feel less secure, and the super-rich exploit that insecurity.

plutocrats book

This is why grown adults with full-time jobs need a roommate to afford an apartment.  This is why so many salaried employees put in 60 hour weeks to meet their work load.  This is why fewer Americans than ever can afford their own home.  This is why so many healthy able-bodied adults have decided that the jobs they can get don’t pay enough to be worth their time.  That’s how the super-rich uses the dirt poor against the middle-class.

trickle down economics

Look at where punishing the poor has gotten us. Still we have plenty of resentment to go around. We punish the crazy, because we don’t want halfway houses in our neighborhoods.  We don’t want to see them and we don’t want to pay for them. We punish the addicted for their weakness. We punish the young and adventurous because they remind us of our lost youth and we punish the lost and confused because we just don’t have time for other people. We punish them all because we see them as blemishes on our middle-class dreams, but the ones we resent the most don’t have any excuse, do they?

no excuse washington

I’m talking about the healthy young people who have decided that the jobs they can get, don’t pay well enough to be worth their time, and that their time is better spent learning to live without a job and without a home. More and more people are making that decision, not because it looks like an attractive option, but because it looks like a better option than any of their alternatives.  They would rather sleep outside in the rain and scrounge for food then work themselves to death, and kiss ass all day for a rented room, a TV and enough beer to ease the pain.  These people have resentments too. Just sayin’

job-vs-homeless fu

We all like having someone to punish. It makes us feel better about how much we punish ourselves in this stupid economy. We punish the poor, because we want poor people to suffer more than we do in our struggle to be middle-class. The struggle to be middle-class sucks so much because being middle-class is a totally unsustainable lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the poor, except that every person now struggling to be middle-class makes the whole world poorer, and helps the super-rich enslave us all. That’s what middle-class people do. It’s nothing to be proud of.

class war

Thanks to three decades of trickle-down economics, welfare reform, and the Great Recession our population of punishable people mushroomed. Despite the economic pressure, despite the social stigma and open hostility, they have learned to live outside of mainstream society, and there are now enough of them that they have their own society. The more they talk to each other, the more they identify with each other. The more they identify with each other, the more they support each other, and the more they support each other, the more insulated from, and immune to the punishments of, the mainstream culture they become. So, we become like the Israelis and the Palestinians, or like Black and White America, two segregated societies that hate each other, living in the same place.

class war gif

This problem is not going away, and it’s never going to get better without compromise, leadership, foresight and understanding. Knowing this community as I do, that means it ain’t gonna happen, and instead, things will go from bad to worse. The whole situation is very revealing. Poor people can’t afford to conceal their ugliness, and having ugly poor people around brings out the ugliness of the middle-class. We now see just how ugly and dysfunctional American society has become. The situation is so pathetic that probably the best that will come from it was the small amount of humor, and insightful analysis I was able to glean from it for this blog.

'I like 'gleaning' better than 'reaping'.'

But just imagine for a moment… What if we had some thoughtful, enlightened, cultural creatives among our local gentry? What could they do to make the situation better for everyone, and to make Garberville a much better place to live?

imagine passion

Right now the number one need in this community is housing. We need housing more than we need ball fields, schools, parks, roads or anything else. By ignoring that need, in favor of perks for the middle-class, like ball fields, concert venues or the town square, we provide adequate reason for the homeless to despise the gentry. Everything we do to relieve that pressure, will also reduce that hostility, and pay off in better life for everyone in Garberville.

tiny shelter-horz

SoHum prides itself as the heart of the “back to the land” movement, where once upon a time, people bought cheap land, and built their own homes without permits. The Boomers now make sure that no one ever gets a deal on land like they got, but a lot of people would still like to build their own tiny cabin, somewhere where a landlord won’t evict them, and the cops will not come tear it down.

hippie cabin

If you’ve been to Oregon Country Fair you’ve no doubt noticed how harmoniously hippie architecture can blend into a natural environment. It doesn’t happen by accident. OCF has volunteer building inspectors that look for genuinely dangerous or particularly ugly structures, and cites them, but mostly, people can build what they want. A lot of people would really appreciate an opportunity to build their own little home, and would have a lot of motivation to make it work. Half Habitat for Humanity, half Oregon Country Fair, part campground, part tree-fort residential subdivision, entirely innovative, entirely SoHum, we could make it happen if only someone with some land around here actually gave a fuck.

hippie architecture1-horz

Even without building a single other structure, we could probably solve our housing problem another way.

another-way

Right now, about half of this county’s available residential housing has been converted to indoor marijuana farms. Why are half of our residential houses full of marijuana plants, while thousands of people sleep outside? That’s insane. Every grow house is a crime against humanity, and a crime against nature, and if there is any role for the cops it should be to bust every indoor grow scene in Humboldt County.

indoor grow2-horz

Frankly, I don’t think the cops will be much help. Cops aren’t going to solve this problem. This is a “crumbling society” problem, not a “law and order” problem. If our social problems could be solved by a pin-headed red-neck with a gun, they’d have all been solved a long time ago. These problems were created by pin-headed red-necks with guns. We need unarmed hippie solutions, the kind we used to have when pot was cheap and it all came from Mexico, before we got greedy and decided we wanted to be middle-class.

greed is the knife

The pressure should come from the community. We should hear PSAs on KMUD about how to recognize a grow house, how much damage to the environment comes from growing marijuana indoors, and especially about how many families go homeless because greedy drug dealers have taken over our residential neighborhoods. Homes are for people! Get the pot farms out of our residential neighborhoods. This isn’t just common sense, it’s common decency.

common-courtesy-

Another common sense, absolute desperate necessity is a reasonably priced campground with bathrooms and a coin-operated shower. State campgrounds charge $35 a night for camping, which is highway robbery (Fuck You, State of California!). That’s why you only find rich retirees camping at them anymore. The county charges $15 dollars a night for their campgrounds. That’s closer to reasonable. Reasonable does not mean, “competitive,” reasonable means a price that people will actually pay, rather than take their chances finding a place where they can crash for free.

free place to crash

We get a lot of budget conscious tourists who are resourceful enough that they don’t ever have to pay tourist prices for camping. Currently, the only people who welcome them are the homeless. If the townsfolk welcomed them with the kinds of services they need at a price they’re willing to spend, these tourists would not so quickly identify with, and become a part of the local subculture, and local entrepreneurs would make money from them. Again, this is just common sense.

common sense

Here’s something a little more ambitious, but desperately needed, an affordable, cannabis-therapy-based treatment and recovery camp. We all know people who have beat serious addictions to alcohol, narcotics, tobacco,cocaine or speed, by using cannabis. Decades of prohibition have deeply enmeshed cannabis users and growers alike into the black-market drug trade. A large part of the money that comes into this county, comes from individuals and organizations that deal in other, more addictive substances, along with Humboldt’s finest cannabis.

drug dealer

Addiction is a huge problem both among SoHum’s housed community as well as the unhoused. A very rustic, drug-free, cult-like, cannabis intensive retreat, built around a culture of recovery, mutual support, mutual-sufficiency and community service has enormous potential around here. We have the rustic. We have the addicts. All we need is one good Pot Doc with cult-leader aspirations.  At the very least, it would help a lot of people quit hard drugs, take a lot of pressure off of the community, and do a lot of research on cannabis and addiction.

cannabis therapy institute

And while we’re dreaming…. Here’s another good idea: Economic diversity, and by that I mean, make space for tiny businesses, and local artists. Support them. Celebrate them, don’t just exploit them, or force them out of town.

local arts

Eureka and Arcata both have rocking Arts Alive nights every month. Garberville could do it too, but it would take planning, and some commitment to make it happen.

make it happen

Now, I expect most of the people who own land around here to think: “Why should I do anything for them?” Here’s why: Doing all of these things helps to shrink that “problem population,” and it creates the illusion that people actually give a fuck about their fellow human beings. That makes it harder for people like me to make fun of the situation, and it gives people more options, which makes it harder to take sides. In reality, it’s a diabolical strategy designed to subdue insurgents. They call it Psy-Ops.

psyops1

Every time you put someone in a home, you cut the homeless population by one. Every time you get an addict off of drugs and into a cult, your problem shrinks. Every time a tourist sees an entrepreneur bending over backwards to accommodate them, the less likely it is that they will camp with the homeless, get to know them and and decide to stick around. And of course, every artist who can count on reliable local work because someone at the C of C makes Arts Alive a priority, means one sarcastic critic with a sharp pen, has something better to do.

something_better_to_do


Boomer Karma

boomer-karma-horz

This vein is just too rich to ignore, so today I’m mining the irony of the whole sad situation in Garberville yet again. I realize that this situation has upset many people, and I think people should be upset. In fact, people should be outraged, just not at the poor, the young and the homeless. Instead, I think we should blame it on the Baby Boomers.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Never before have so many taken so much, and yet demanded so much more as the Baby Boomer generation, and it couldn’t be truer here in SoHum. Here in SoHum, a small community of Baby Boomers bought land here dirt cheap, and took advantage of the Drug War to turn enormous profits growing black-market marijuana. Today a small community of Baby Boomers still control most of the real estate in SoHum, and they make damn sure that no one ever gets a deal like they got. They supply half of the nation with marijuana, which turns people into hippies, but the money they got for it, turned them into yuppies. Now that they have become crotchety old geezers, what do we hear them complain about?

boomers cynical

Hippies! The Baby Boomers in Garberville are complaining about hippies!

hippies on sidewalk

You know what folks, what goes around, comes around, and sometimes the karma runs over the dogma. You might not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when there were even more scuzzy, smelly, obnoxious hippies around than there are today.

boomers-grow-old-horsey

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you wouldn’t believe how many filthy, dirty fucked-up hippies there were. They were everywhere. They took every imaginable drug, meth, heroin, cocaine, LSD, PCP, Quaaludes and anything else they could get their hands on.

hippies turn on collage

They freaked-out spectacularly. They fucked-up catastrophically, and they passed-out in their own vomit. Not only were they totally “in your face” everywhere you went, they had to have their loud music blaring all the time as accompaniment.

hippie BW-tile

And talk about attitude. They treated the whole world as if it belonged to them, exclusively, right from the start. They rioted, for God’s sake, big raucous riots where they turned over police cars and set fire to buildings. They’d never shut-up and sit down at music concerts, and they’d never turn their music down anywhere else. They wore faded, ripped, shabby clothing and they never took a bath. They were disgusting, repulsive, and obnoxious, and they took over every park, square and sidewalk in the whole country.

hippies take over park

They didn’t like how anyone else did anything. They wanted a revolution so they could do everything their way, and “their way” meant “at a party and on drugs,” and they thought that that made them cultural revolutionaries. To this day, SoHum Boomers still believe they can solve all of their problems at a party and on drugs.

hippies_and_hipsters-tile

To be fair, the boomers did change our culture. They changed us from a culture of stilted, stiff, sexually repressed, uptight consumerism into a culture of dumbed-down, hyper-sexualized, casual, convenient consumerism. Spirituality replaced religion. Positivity replaced compassion, and self-serving non-profit organizations replaced charities.

self inc

The War on Poverty became the War on Drugs because suddenly Americans hated hippies more than they feared black people. With cocaine, they turned a rich man’s drug into a poor mans drug and annihilated a generation of inner-city youth. With marijuana, they turned a poor man’s drug into a luxury only the rich could afford, and they made income discrimination more socially acceptable than racial discrimination.

colorblindideology

Go ahead and ask any of our local Baby boomers about the 60’s and ’70s and they’ll tell you how long their hair used to be. They’ll tell you about all of the drugs they used to take and all of the crazy shit they used to do, and they’ll tell you it was the best time of their life. My how times change.

hipies love free earth

One thing hasn’t changed however, Baby Boomers thought they owned the whole world then, and they still think the whole fucking world belongs to them. Now that they’re all shriveled-up, they don’t think anyone else deserves the opportunity to be young and irresponsible, and no one else has the right to come here and make a home in the woods without giving them a quarter-of-a-million dollars first. I guess they’ve still got some lessons to learn because it’s their bad karma that keeps bringing more hippies to Garberville, and I don’t think anyone deserves them more.

hippy chick beer


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