Category Archives: Finance

We Must Defeat Measure Z

z1 genghis khan quote

It’s only a campaign if you stick with it till the bitter end, we must defeat the forces of greed and corruption in Humboldt County, and we must defeat Measure Z. Unfortunately, this is an uphill climb. I really don’t know how to gauge the electorate, but from the people I’ve talked to about the issue, public opinion ranges from ignorance to stupidity.

z1 mlk ignorance and stupidity

The most common response I heard from people was: “What is Measure Z?” That’s just simple ignorance. I understand that. I can explain Measure Z to them, no problem, and then they can make up their own mind, but that takes work, and it costs money which I don’t have.

z1 Look-at-all-the money

Measure Z is essentially a one-half of one percent increase in the cost of almost everything for everyone in Humboldt County. Measure Z is the rich stealing from the poor. Measure Z is the same greedy bastards who took over our Board of Supervisors, reaching deep into the pockets of the working people of Humboldt County. Measure Z makes you pay for big subsidies to ranchers and developers, and allows them to profit from your hard work.

z1 slavery1

There’s been almost no press about this issue, except the blandest pile of BS you ever heard from our local Supervisor, and another from someone in the Sheriff’s Dept. Everyone in the county got a mailer about Measure Z, paid for by the taxpayers. The mailer was equally bland, and completely unbalanced.

z1 unbalanced

Measure Z proponents are hoping for rain on election day, and a poor turnout. They don’t want Humboldt County working people to even bother to vote. They know that the greedy bastards looking for a free ride on your shoulders will make it to the polls, rain or shine. We need to GET OUT THE VOTE on November 4. Measure Z is going to bite you in the wallet if you don’t wake up now and beat it at the ballot-box. Please vote No on Measure Z.

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The stupidity is a lot harder to deal with. Stupid land owners say things like (excerpted from a fb exchange):

z1 born ignorant

“ I am a property owner and a landlord. I have no problem with increased taxes, but county government is for all of us from law enforcement, public records, the library, our courts, public health to public welfare. I agree we may well have a planning problem with developers, but I don’t see ranchers and farmers as greedy–they provide us with our food. Ranchers and farmers have been heavily impacted by the recent drought. Poor people and the homeless need government services–before I retired I was on the homeless coalition. There are those who care about the poor who work in county government. I would be very careful pitting people against each other. We all need to work together to make our area a better place to live. Paying property taxes is a way to make the lives of the less fortunate better. Proposition 13 that decreased county property taxes heavily impacted the poor by decreasing government services.”

rz1 ich and stupid

What a crock of Bullshit! People like this don’t think they are being greedy, because greed is the water they swim in. Calling them “greedy” is like calling a fish “wet.” 90% of what county government does, is guarantee the property rights of property owners. Courts, law-enforcement, public records primarily serve these ends. There may be people who care about the poor who work in county government, but that’s not what they get paid to do. They get paid to implement policies that have been created to protect property owners from the poor.

z1 class war ahead2

Ranchers and farmers don’t “provide us with food,” unless we buy it from them, at a price they agree to. Measure Z forces poor and homeless people to subsidize these farmers and ranchers, even though they have no land themselves, and get no food at all in return. Those alleged “property rights” amount to nothing more than an expensive and violent occupation of stolen land by vicious genocidal invaders.

z1 indian-land-for-sale

I agree that we all need to work together to make this area a better place to live, but to do that, we need to find homes for the more than 2,000 people who have no place to live in Humboldt County. Instead, Measure Z makes those homeless Humboldters pay for services to rich, stupid and greedy land owners, heirs to the most violent, racist and genocidal empire to ever despoil the face of God’s green Earth.

z1 thanksgiving That’s the kind of greed and stupidity we’re up against folks. Measure Z supporters are “Marie Antoinette” stupid, and there’s only one cure for that kind of stupidity.

z1 marie-antoinette1

Here’s some more helpful information to help you make up your mind about Measure Z:

z1 stuff you should know

The North Coast Journal usually only accepts letters to the editor about topics they cover in the magazine, and they haven’t even mentioned Measure Z. In this last month before the election they have made space for letters about political issues, but limited the length of these letters to to 150 words. 150 words is barely longer than a bumper sticker for Christs sake. Anyway, here’s mine.

z1 heres mine motivation

Dear Editor,
Measure Z, the proposed county-wide sales tax will raise the price of basic necessities like shoes, clothes and toiletries, as well as most other things, for everyone in Humboldt County. This new tax will most severely impact Humboldt County’s students, working people, low-income families, disabled people and seniors living on fixed incomes. It is particularly unfair to fund county government with a sales tax because the primary purpose of county government is to secure the property rights of property owners. If you own property, county government works for you, whether you live here or not. If you don’t own property, county government are the people who evict you from your home. If Measure Z passes, Humboldt county’s low-income residents will begin paying their landlord’s tax bill. Measure Z is a cynical ploy to take advantage of the county’s most vulnerable. Please, VOTE NO on Measure Z.

z 1 darwin award

Sincerely, John Hardin

z1 blotter mad hatter

Continuing my campaign to sink Measure Z I present the text to an “All Sides Now,” a nightly audio editorial feature on KMUD, that I submitted regarding Measure Z. Read it now or save yourself the trouble of interpreting all of those English language characters and listen to it tonight, Monday, October 20 at 6:30 after the evening news, instead.

z1 listen

This is John Hardin for All Sides Now,

Measure Z, if it passes would establish a brand new county-wide sales tax, on top of the already high seven-and-a-half percent state sales tax, and in addition to any municipal sales tax, such as the one up for reconsideration in Eureka. If Measure Z passes, it will make almost everything in Humboldt County, more expensive, including basic necessities like shoes, clothes and toiletries.

z1 kid-drunk

Measure Z will most severely impact Humboldt County’s young people and students, low-income working families, single mothers, disabled people, retirees and others living on a fixed income. In other words, Measure Z hurts the people who can afford it the least.

z1 steinbeck quote

Who benefits from Measure Z? Greedy developers, rich ranchers and large estate owners expect to reap a windfall of taxpayer subsidies from Measure Z funds. If Measure Z passes, you will pay for taxbreaks on new McMansion developments, every time you buy toilet paper. If Measure Z passes, you will have to pay for subsidized pest control for ranchers, through Wildlife Services, a notoriously inhumane agency of the USDA that needlessly kills millions of wild animals every year, every time you buy cruelty-free cosmetics in Humboldt County.z1 Cruelty-towards-animals

Measure Z is a cynical plan, hatched by Humboldt County’s richest and greediest, to foist the burden of county government on to the backs of people who can afford it the least, while they insure that the benefits of county government remain firmly within their grasp.

z1 greedy hand

Measure Z steals from the poor and gives to the rich. We must stop Measure Z now, before it is too late. Please, vote NO on Measure Z.

z1 stop ebola rns


Please Buy My New Book: On The Money: Economics for the 99%, How the Economy Works, and Why It Works Against You.

OTM ebook cover

At last, I am very pleased to announce the publication of my first book: On The Money: Economics for the 99% or, How The Economy Works and Why It Works Against You. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll remember On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a series of weekly essays that appeared here from 2011-13.

OTM WHAT DID CAVEMEN KNOW

Besides offering a thought provoking, phenomenological analysis of our current economic system, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains some of my best and funniest writing. The fact that Savage Henry Magazine and Fifth Estate Magazine have both published essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series, should tell you that On The Money: Economics fro the 99% is both funny enough for stupid people and radical enough for smart people.

stupid_creates

Essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series remain some of the most popular posts here at lygsbtd, and you can still find them highly ranked on my “most read” (“Stuff People Read”) section in the right-hand column. My new book, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains classics like:

classics like
Gilligan’s Island as Economic Metaphor
Barbie v Bratz
Hello, My Name is Civilization and I’m an Alcoholic
MyPee
How To Party Now That the Party’s Over
Unemployment
Foie Gras
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
along with 62 other great essays first published here. I’ve revised and updated them all, so they’re even funnier and more relevant than before. Even if you’ve already read all of these essays before, out of order, and over the course of three years, you haven’t seen the whole picture. You owe it to yourself to read the book in it’s completion. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

whole is greater

You owe it to me too! For three and a half years now I pour myself out for you. Every week, thousands of you come here for some little respite from your miserable lives. You slurp up whatever I have to offer, and then you slink away. Well it’s time to pay the piper!

Pay_the_piper

What’s it worth to you folks?

worth it6

We’re only talking about $5 here! That works out to about 14 essays, or 14,000 carefully chosen words, for each dollar. That’s a hell of a bargain if you ask me, and you’ve had plenty of opportunity to sample the wares, so don’t tell me you’re not interested, because you’re here, for God’s sake.

you are here snake

Please, if my work means anything to you, and you want to see this blog continue, buy a copy of On The Money: Economics for the 99%. You won’t regret it. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is a great book. You’ll love reading it. I love reading it, and I hate to read. I guarantee that you will not find a more entertaining or informative book about economics anywhere, at any price.

OTM CLICK HERE NOW

You need to know this stuff. On The Money: Economics for the 99% examines our modern economy from the perspective of someone who has to live in it. This book explains how the economy consumes you, your world, and your future.

OTM gas flare

To save yourself, you need to know how the economy really works. Your future depends on it. I know you don’t want to think about it. That’s why I always look for the weird angle, and try to keep it playful. If you can laugh at it, you can beat it.

OTM ever wonder duck

Come on folks! I am your writer. I tell the truth, and I make it entertaining. You may not always agree with me. Hell, you may not ever agree with me, but something brings you back, week after week. Well, if you want to keep coming back, and finding new stuff here, show some appreciation for the three and a half years of my life I’ve already given you. Even if you can’t read, and just come here to look at the pictures,PLEASE, BUY MY FUCKING BOOK! It has a great cover!

OTM promo DETAILS AMAZING

I’m serious people! I need your help right now. $5 from you will make a huge impact on my life, and you’ll get a great 70,000 word ebook, that I put a hell of a lot of work into, to read at your leisure. Put it on your card, charge it to your pay pal account, however you want to do it is fine, just DO IT NOW!! Please.

OTM everyone buys it

And buy a copy for a friend. Surely you know someone who really needs to see things from a different perspective. Give On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a gift. Infect others with these ideas, don’t just let them fester inside your own head. On The Money: Economics for the 99% has the potential to change the economy, by changing the way people see it.

OTM because life

It’s going to take a movement folks, and the more people who read On The Money: Economics for the 99%, the faster that movement will grow. So, please, get the word, and spread the word. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is the book everyone must read today.

can u longgif


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


Sexy Street Kids, Homeless Hotties Revitalize Downtown Garberville

Photo by Kevin McShane. http://mcshanephoto.com

A startling new survey published in the July 8 edition of The Independent reveals that SoHum’s street kids and homeless population, so often talked about as “a problem,” are actually what people most love about Garberville. Indeed, twice as many respondents said they loved Garberville’s scruffiest and scrappiest as anything else about the whole town.

love

No one in the survey said they loved the shops. No one in the survey said they loved the Theater, or the Town Square, or even the marijuana.

nobody_loves_you_

Only one respondent said they loved Garberville’s restaurants, and from the accompanying photo, it’s obvious that she has never ordered anything that wasn’t on the kid’s menu, and never picked up the tab. Other also-rans in the “most loved” survey included: people’s tolerance, the fact that there are no stop-lights in town, and one woman I’ve never seen before in my life said she loves that “You can walk down the street and everybody knows your name.”

who the fuck are you barking

It appears that sexual attractiveness at least partially drives the love affair with this oft vilified segment of the population. A respondent from Carlotta answered the question “What is one thing that you love about Garberville?” with the answer, “Definitely all of the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Her honest enthusiasm shows as clearly in the expression on her face as it does in the words between the quotes.

Woman-Love-

Clearly the lean, rugged, free spirited young men who live out of their backpacks and take refuge at the Veteran’s Park have caught this young woman’s eye. From Carlotta, it takes longer, and uses more gas to come to Garberville, than it does to go to Eureka, where she could find anything else she needed, at a better price. Instead, she came to Garberville, to see “the hotties that frequent the Veteran’s Park.” Apparently, it’s the homeless beefcake that brings home the bacon for Garberville’s merchants.

bacon beefcake mirror

The Jim Demulling Memorial Grove, aka Veteran’s Park, a little patch of land at the North end of town, squeezed between a parking lot, an on-ramp and Garberville’s main drag, became a popular hangout mainly because it is the only place in town where people can sit in some shade, socialize, eat lunch and relax without being hounded by shop-keeps to spend money or move along. Usually inhabited by a colorful cast of interesting characters, and their dogs, Veterans Park soon evolved into SoHum’s cultural center. It is, by far, the friendliest, most welcoming place in town, especially for a newcomer.

jim demulling grove

Today, “Veteran’s Park” is the epicenter of an economic boom in Garberville’s otherwise stagnant and dying downtown shopping district. Like the people fueling this emerging economic engine, the entrepreneurs who serve them have found imaginative ways around Garberville’s exorbitant rent prices, and this seems to be the key to their success:

key to success

Chicago Bob’s Hot Dogs opened up a while ago in a mobile food cart on the main drag, but just across the street from Veteran’s Park. Chicago Bob brought something to Garberville that this town desperately needed. That is, lunch for less than $5. Bob makes a great hot dog, with all the fixin’s. If you haven’t had one, you should.

Chicago-Bob’s-Hot-Dogs-

Just last week I noticed a new food truck operating directly adjacent to the park, advertizing tacos for $3. “Right on!” I say. I haven’t tried their food yet, but they had a dining canopy full of people when I passed by, and no doubt full of people like the woman from Carlotta, who came for the hotties, but stayed for the tacos.

taco chick flips you off

It’s refreshing to see some entrepreneurs with good sense and moxie in Garberville for a change. This new economic growth really livens up our little town, and I applaud these business-people for recognizing the potential, and filling a need, rather than complaining about it and trying to make it go away.

make it go away-horz

If you ask me, the ones who should go away, are the stodgy old business owners who would rather complain about the people in front of their store, than figure out how to meet their needs at a price they can afford.

blaks lehman go the fuck away

 


How E-Cigarettes and E-Joints Can Save the World

ecigs changed my life

Lately, I hear a lot about e-cigarettes in the news. I’ve also noticed them popping up for sale in our local gas stations and grocery stores. Even though I’m not a cigarette smoker, anything involving both electronics and drugs, naturally arouses my interest.

arouse

I’ve only seen a couple of people using e-cigarettes, but I find them much less unpleasant to endure than regular cigarettes. I can see how e-cigarettes could do a lot to improve relations between smokers and non-smokers. E-cigarettes might even make the exiled smoker, the lone individual standing outside, under the eves, a thing of the past.

bad habit

The price of e-cigarettes seems like the sticking point for most smokers. I haven’t done the math, but the device costs more than a couple of packs of smokes, and the refills for it don’t come cheap either. It already costs a lot to smoke cigarettes these days, and most of my friends who smoke, hand roll, with the cheapest tobacco they can get, if they don’t pick up cigarette butts they find on the sidewalk. There’s another problem e-cigarettes might solve; no more cigarette butts on the sidewalk, at least if they can bring the price of e-cigarettes down to a price more smokers can afford.

cheap smokes

E-cigarettes look kind of cool too. The one I saw close up, had a blue LED that glowed bright whenever the smoker took a drag from it. I love blue LEDs.

ecig blue led

I’ll bet you can get them with color-changing LEDs. I’m sure you could bling them out in a million different ways. You could get them made out of 24K gold or platinum. They’ll have pink ones for girls,

ecig pink

..and black, or camo-colored ones for guys.

ecigs fancy

They’ll even have ones that look just like a classic Marlboro for old geezers who still remember what real cigarettes looked like.

ecig marlboro

Even so, I’m not about to take them up. First, I’m too cheap. Second, there’s really no “cool” way to announce that you have a drug problem, and third, I don’t need another drug problem. Nicotine and I never saw eye to eye. I tried it back when I was a teenager. I gave it a chance, and it didn’t do anything for me. If only these e-cigs had something I liked in them…

dont like

Now I understand that that you can get e-joints. That is, an e-cigarette loaded with THC instead of nicotine. A new shop just opened up on the plaza in Arcata that specializes in just such devices. I love good old-fashioned marijuana buds, but I think these new e-joints, or “vaporizer pens” as I’ve heard them called, generically, could be a real game-changer in the marijuana industry, as we move inexorably towards legalization.

vaporizer pen

Right now, the biggest bottleneck to scaling up the whole marijuana industry, is trimming. Currently, the market demands manicured sinsemilla buds, which require a lot of manual labor. It takes about an hour to trim an ounce of buds, a really proficient trimmer might be able to trim an ounce and a quarter per hour, either way, there’s at least 12 hours of excruciatingly dull, manual labor in every pound of marijuana bud, just in trimming alone.

trimming weed

Several companies make automated trimming machines, but thus far, none of them produce a product that can compare to hand trimmed buds. With the high prices of black-market marijuana, every gram has to be marketable, and a poor trim job can break the deal, so trimming machines have not become very popular with growers.

trimming machine

Sinsemilla buds also have a very limited shelf life, and must be handled with care. Like potato chips they can become stale, or get crunched down to worthless powder. The way I see it, e-joints can solve all of these problems, and more.

problem-solved

Back in the early “90s in Boston, when I worked for the Mass. Cannabis Reform Coalition, I met a guy, I can’t remember his name, who owns a patent for a method of extracting pure THC from raw cannabis herb.

THC extraction

He described a future world in which he was a multimillionaire, and everyone “smoked” these little electronic devices that would deliver a precise dosage of pure THC, along with whatever flavor you might enjoy.

ecig guy

At the time, I thought “Fuck that! I don’t want some corporation getting between me and my marijuana. I want to smoke the marijuana that I grow in my own back-yard, not some soulless corporate cannabis extract.” Today, I feel differently. Today, I think that guy is a genius. Think about it.

lemme_think_about_it

On the production side, the difference between e-joints and sinsemilla buds is like the difference between Heinz 57 Ketchup and fresh heirloom tomatoes. E-joints offer these advantages:
1. You can make extract from the whole plant, male or female, mature or immature. Growers wouldn’t lose the THC contained in shake, trim, leaf or stem. I’ll bet they could even extract clean THC from moldy bud. All cannabis contains some THC, so probably any cannabis could be made into “fuel” for e-joints.
2. Extraction would completely bypass the need for trimming, and greatly reduce the cost of production. A single industrial extraction facility could replace an army of trimmers.
3. Subjective qualities like aroma and flavor, as well as aesthetic flaws, like spindly buds or brown leaves make no difference in an extract. Manufacturers could produce a very consistent e-joint product, as consistent as a Budweiser or a Big Mac.
4. Cannabis extract for e-joints would be easy to store and transport, vastly simplifying national distribution.

e-cig-truck

On the consumer side the advantages are obvious:
1. No joints to roll
2. No lighter to burn yourself with
3. No smoke, which means no carcinogenic combustion products
4. No smell
5. No ashes
6. No roaches
7. No gooey sticky resin clogged pipes
8. No bongwater
9. No coughing
10. No raw throat
11. Most importantly, e-joints should bring down the cost of getting high. Around here I hear a lot of talk about “boutique growers” serving “marijuana connoisseurs,” but in the open market, a lot of consumers want a product of reliable quality at a reasonable price. Marijuana consumers have been denied that for far too long, and these e-joints just might be the ticket to a mass-produced, nationally distributed, recreational cannabis product with a price based on the economy of scale.

economy-of-scale

I might still prefer to smoke my own home-grown marijuana rather than the soulless corporate substitute, but e-joints, complicated little gadgets though they are, might simplify the process of getting high for everyone.

simplify simplify

My younger, hipper friends are all down with e-joints. They all have vaporizers already. They see e-joints as a major advance in stoner technology, the wave of the future. They say vaporizing is cleaner and healthier than smoking, and that it gets you just as stoned. I’m sure they’d all embrace e-joints, at the right price point, even here in Humboldt County.

humboldt-county-young people

Yes, I think these “vaporizer pens” could change the world. For one thing, it won’t be long before no one knows how to roll a cigarette anymore. Imagine it. People will have to go to The Haight in San Fransisco, which by then, (because nobody could afford the rent to live there anymore) will have been turned into a theme park for Hippie nostalgia,. It will be like Colonial Williamsburg, except that instead of having people in period costumes making tallow candles and shoeing horses, they’ll have actors wearing wigs, grannie glasses and tie-dye t-shirts, show people how they used to roll joints in the old days.

hippie rolling joint

By that time everyone will have an e-cig of one form or another. They’ll have e-crack, e-meth, and e-heroin. They’ll have e-MDMA and e-LSD. They’ll have e-Prozac for mom and e-Adderall for the kids. They’ll even have drug-free e-flavor for people who don’t take drugs but want to enjoy a refreshing calorie-free vapor-snack.

ecig smoker

Thanks to e-cigarettes the future will look like Humphrey Bogart meets Obi Wan Kenobe.

humphrey bogart obi wan kenobi

We’ll all have our own little rechargeable, chrome plated, illuminated pacifiers to fondle endlessly, and no one will have to stand outside to get their fix anymore. Doesn’t that sound like brighter e-tomorrow? Now I think I’ll just unplug my e-joint and enjoy a celebratory e-toke. ecig cartoon


“Back to the Land” Mythbusting Pt. 2

mythbuster method

Last week’s post inspired more comments than usual, both here and on facebook. Since my audience gave me so much to think about, I thought I might double-dip on the subject of the mythology of the “back to the landers” I realize that my perspective seems blasphemous, and many of you have never heard such heresy before. No surprise there.

no-surprise abuse of power

Boomers, no matter what they do, have always been infatuated with themselves, The local merchants, who overcharge them for everything, just tell them what they want to hear. The non-profits around here are loath to criticize them, dependent as they are on dope yuppies’ donations, likewise with the sharecroppers, trimmers, and working stiffs. These people are so polite that they won’t even ask anyone around here what they do for a living.

too-polite

Even the homeless people around here kiss dope yuppie ass. I can’t believe how many homeless or marginally housed people volunteer lots of hours and devote a tremendous amount of energy to help local organizations that mostly serve dope yuppies. That just seems ass backwards to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that the well-to-do should volunteer to help the less fortunate, rather than vice versa.

ViceVersa-Lick-It featuring problem

So, we’ve got dope yuppies, who celebrate themselves shamelessly and relentlessly. Around them, a small army of sycophantic merchants, politicians, administrators, working people and hangers-on compete with each other for the crumbs that fall from the dope yuppies’ table.

Sycophants

Which leaves, basically, me, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the so-called “back to the landers”

You-Cant-Handle-the-Truth

One reader of last week’s post lamented that I hadn’t actually met any “real” back to the landers. I’ve discovered that every dope yuppie in SoHum believes themselves to be a “real” back to the lander, and that they all think of their neighbors as greed-heads, fucked-up drug addicts or both.

greed heads

Even the best of the back to the landers I know, the ones without the crazy collections of vehicles decaying in the yard, and piles of ridiculous useless stuff everywhere. The ones who have a little bit of imagination, build their own home, and do the whole harmonious, permaculture, native plant landscaping, composting toilet, solar electric, blah blah blah, even those people, don’t know when to stop.

know your parasites

As they get better at carpentry, their funky little cabins become elegant chalets, surrounded by effusive gardens. Peacocks roam the grounds, …along with servants. Sure, it’s lovely, but the scale is all wrong. Boomers do everything, too big.

too-big-first-world-problems

They grew up driving big-block V8 muscle cars. They gave us gigantic concerts, like Woodstock and Altamont, where the musicians look like ants, and sound like shit, and the audience amuse themselves with nudity and drug abuse. They couldn’t just drink a “cup ‘o Joe” like their parents, they have to have a double-shot, decaf, low-fat, triple-foam machiato with squirt of hazelnut syrup, and, of course, they don’t make that themselves. Hell no! It’s enough trouble just to order it. They expect us to make it for them, so they can consume our lives, as well as our future. Even cheap Mexican marijuana wasn’t good enough for them. They had to turn it into an expensive luxury product, so that poor kids would turn to cocaine and meth for a high they could afford.

crack cat

A reader suggested that the reason Boomers are so materialistic is that they were raised by depression-era parents, who never let them throw anything away. To make up for it, they gave us a world where everything is disposable, eating utensils, pens, lighters, flashlights, clothes, cameras, phones, furniture, stereos, TVs, computers. Nothing lasts, and nobody knows how to fix anything anymore. Kids today all know that the latest gadget won’t last half as long as a can of Spam, and that nothing in this world matters, except money. That’s the lesson the Boomers teach. It shouldn’t surprise them if the younger generation takes that lesson to heart.

money_matters

One reader commented, “I don’t recall taking a vow of poverty”. Far from it! Boomers spend like there’s no tomorrow, and thanks to them, there isn’t. Now nobody has to take a vow of poverty. We have poverty thrust upon us. The oceans have been fished-out and thoroughly polluted. The oil’s gone. There’s still plenty of natural gas, but they’re fracking the fuck out of our freshwater aquifers to get it. The only resource left to exploit is the lives of the descendants of the Baby Boomers, and the suck is on!

suck job

We look forward to lives of wage slavery lived for the benefit of bloodsucking landlords, and anyone who refuses to to participate in their own oppression can expect to be punished. They can expect to be kicked in the ribs by cops whenever they try to get some sleep, moved along by merchants whenever they sit down, denied access to bathrooms, water, food or shelter, and then made into scapegoats to be reviled and punished further for their poverty, punished until they die in the streets. I hear entirely too many dope yuppies and their suck-ups complaining about “the transient problem”. I see it differently. I think we have a “greedy boomer” problem.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Another reader told of some back to the landers who were so poor that they could only afford the cheapest piece of land, but they managed to make it work for decades while keeping their “ethics intact”. Sure, …but they didn’t mind breaking a silly little law. They didn’t mind profiting from a really ugly policy. They didn’t mind converting forest to farmland. They didn’t mind moving on to land stolen through violence and genocide, and paying off the violent thugs who run this whole “private property” racket, namely, the county government. In the same sense, I could say that I survived the economic downturn with my investment portfolio “intact”.

ethics no

I’m not saying that the back to the landers are bad people. People do the best that they can for themselves. I’m saying that poor people don’t have the option of buying any land any more.

boomers rise

Things are not the same.

not the same the world

When you leave the world, worse off than you found it, you can’t call yourself a “success”. Yes, things were already going downhill when the Boomers took over, but they didn’t have to press the accelerator so hard, and now that they’ve wrecked the car, no one wants to hear about how well they think they handled that next-to-last turn.

wreck the car

We all inherited a diabolical economic system, a looming environmental crisis, and a culture in collapse. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to realize that, and to know that it was true. They knew the truth about Viet Nam. They read Silent Spring. They saw the Earth from space. They knew. …and collectively, they said, “Let’s do it up!”

Boomers go for bust


Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

mythbusters

The time has come to set the record straight about one of the most pervasive myths about Humboldt County. I knew I had to take on this subject when I read Kieth Easthouse’s coverage of the recent “Environmental Cannabis Forum” held at the Mateel Community Center recently. At the forum, Tony Silvaggio, an HSU professor with the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, sited, as a factor in the increasing environmental degradation associated with marijuana cultivation…

HiiMR logo

“The children of the back-to-the landers who first started growing pot in Humboldt’s backcountry tend to be more materialistic and consumer-oriented – and less concerned about the environment than their parents.”

old hippies

Yeah, blame it on the kids. Surely, those idealistic “back to the landers” with their tiny, hand built eco-sensitive scrap-wood cabins and their 20 year-old trucks, who grow just enough marijuana each year to pay their property taxes, support their favorite environmental and social justice organizations and maybe, if it’s a good year, put some new tires on their old truck, couldn’t be responsible for destroying our watersheds, could they? No, that kind of “back to the lander” has nothing at all to do with the environmental damage wrought by the marijuana industry, mainly because that kind of “back to the lander” doesn’t exist in Humboldt County. At least I’ve never met one. That kind of “back to the lander” is a mythological beast, like leprechauns, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

bigfoot-kiss

You might think of a “back to the lander” as someone who abandoned the exploding plastic inevitable of American consumerism, for a simple life close to nature, but “back to the lander” means something entirely different in Humboldt County. The reason we call Humboldt’s dope-yuppy Baby Boomers “back to the landers” is because of what they do. They grow marijuana, sell it, use the money to buy stuff, and then they haul that stuff, back to the land.

haul junk

From what I’ve seen, I’m sure a Humboldt edition of the reality TV show Hoarders would shock most American consumers. I’ve seen some really ridiculous stuff in people’s yards around here, like airplanes without wings,

plane in woods

…speedboats without engines,

speedboat

…Italian sports cars overgrown with poison oak,

car sports overgrown

and a seven-foot-tall fiberglass caricature or a dachshund’s head that once festooned the facade of a long defunct fast food franchise.

doggie diner head

I know where there is a padlocked, windowless building, way out in the sticks, packed to the rafters with antique pinball machines that don’t work, celebrity look-alike dolls, still in their original packaging, boxes full of fake vomit and rubber dog poop and 15 cases of 30 year old Harley-Davidson brand wine coolers.

harley davidson wine coolers

Once, while digging in a garden in Humboldt County, my shovel hit something hard. I dug it out, brushed it off, and found myself holding a black statuette of a bird, that I immediately recognized as The Maltese Falcon from the old Humphrey Bogart movie. I kid you not, I dug up The Maltese Fucking Falcon in a Humboldt County garden.

the maltese-falcon

Do you remember The Maltese Falcon? The Maltese Falcon is a movie about an object, so immeasurably valuable in itself, that people willingly sacrifice their lives in order to possess it, only to discover it worthless as it crumbles to pieces in their hands.

Finding The Maltese Falcon, chipped and scratched, in a Humboldt County grow scene seemed appropriate, even perfect for the culture I encountered here. I had no interest in keeping it. I asked my landlord, a gray-haired boomer, of course, about it. Of course, it was his. He told me it was expensive, and that he bought four of them. He told me how much he loved The Maltese Falcon and how inspiring he found the idea of owning an object of immeasurable value. Again, I kid you not. That is a true “back to the lander”.

covetous creatures

I know another “back to the lander” who has at least 20 aquariums, no fish in any of them, but if he finds an aquarium at a good price, or one of unusual shape or size, he will immediately buy it. I know a “back to the land” woman who has at least 50 ornate glass and brass overhead electric lighting fixtures strewn about her land even though her house has no electricity. There are barns, sheds, outbuildings and trailers stuffed to the gills with books, records, clothing, stereo equipment, musical instruments, dishes, pottery, art, antiques, and memorabilia of all kinds, scattered all over Humboldt County, “back to the land” Baby Boomers responsible for all of it.shed

 

Do you ever wonder what happened to all of the bowling balls and pins from all of the bowling alleys that went out of business in the last 20 years? I’ve seen piles of them, big piles of bowling balls and bowling pins, deep in the woods, on a rural parcel in Humboldt County. Don’t ask me why.

Bowling_Balls in the woods

And don’t get me started on the rolling stock. If it has wheels and an engine, some “back to the lander” collects them. They don’t fix them, or restore them, or even try to keep rats from taking up residency in them or forest duff from burying them, but they do collect them. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, go-carts, quads, scooters, vans, Rvs, buses, ambulances, Zambonis, hearses, street-sweepers, cherry-pickers, rock-hoppers, forklifts, bulldozers, backhoes, jeeps, amphibious landing craft, armored personnel carriers, and railroad locomotives, you name it, and some “back to the lander’ bought one, dragged it out into the woods and then lost interest in it.

locomotive

I’ve offered to help some of these people clean their junk up and get it out of the forest, in exchange for allowing me to stay on their property while I did it. They all looked at me like I just offered to help them dispose of a sack of solid gold Krugerrands. They tell me how rare and valuable all of their stuff is, and how much money they paid for it. Then they tell me how much money they want for it, and how much more money I would have to pay every month for the privilege of living in their junkyard. So, mostly, they live alone on 40, 80 or 160 acres, while they bury themselves in, rapidly deteriorating, consumer-grade junk.

HOARDING-path

The Baby Boomers are the most materialistic generation in the history of humanity, and Humboldt’s “back to the lander” Baby Boomers are the most insanely, and I mean pathologically, dysfunctionally, psychotically, coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, insanely materialistic Baby Boomers I have ever met. I find it really hard to imagine how their kids could possibly top them.

coo coo clinton

True, the children of the “back to the landers” do like their pickup trucks, which cruise conspicuously all over town, but I think the younger generation gets a bad rap, because a lot of them would like to own land themselves. In order to do that, they have to buy it from those “back to the landers”. The “back to the landers” have a formula for determing the value of their land. First, they multiply the price they paid for the land originally, by 10 or 15. Then they add up how much they think all of the crap they’ve dragged onto it, would be worth, if there were anyone on Earth stupid enough to buy it. They then double that number, and add it to the asking price.

boomer 2

So, while the “back to the land” Baby Boomers were able to buy land for $20,000-$30,000, and sold the marijuana they grew on it for $3,000-$4,000 a pound, their kids are buying land for $300,000-$5000,000 and selling their pot for $1,000-$2,000 a pound and spending $10 for every 100 pounds of “back to the lander” crap they haul to the transfer station. Yes, the younger generation may be responsible for a lot of enormous water-sucking, forest-clearing mega-grows, because they really need the money, but as far as the materialism goes, their parents, Humboldt’s “back to the land” Baby Boomers still reign supreme.

boomer leeches


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