Category Archives: work

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


“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


The Giving Season

The Giving Season

giving season

As 2013 winds to a close, once again we find ourselves in “The Giving Season”. The time of year when we take a moment to show our appreciation for the people who matter to us, and to the folks who serve us faithfully all year long.

faithful-service

Of course, a lot of the people who serve you faithfully all year long, like your postman, barista or auto-mechanic, your kids school teacher and bus driver, your hooker, drug dealer and bartender, or if you live around here, your crew of trimmers, those people all get paid for their work. Believe me, those people wouldn’t lift a finger for you, if it weren’t for the fat paychecks they take home week after week. So, fuck them! Don’t waste your generosity on those douche nozzles.

douche nozzle

Instead, this year, give generously to the people who really deserve it. Give to the people who work hard for you all year, every week, rain or shine, and ask for nothing in return for their tireless efforts and diligence. People who make it their priority to provide you with interesting, amusing, and mildly arousing entertainment every week, free of charge, and without compensation, acting purely from the goodness of their hearts, for the benefit of all of humanity. In other words, people like me, your humble blogger at Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do.

lygsbtd frace t-shirt

I honestly cannot think of anyone who deserves your generous financial gift more than I do, and if you take the time to think about it carefully, I think you’ll agree. Don’t make the stupid mistakes that trap so many gullible saps into supporting greedy, undeserving scam artists, while good, hard-working people like me persevere through the cold, dark winter months without so much as a “thank-you” from the faceless masses who show up here to consume my work anonymously, leaving nothing of themselves but the statistics that record their activity.

statistics_big

Lots of people give money to help the poor around the holidays, and I can hardly think of a dumber waste of money. Look, I don’t have any money. I’m poor, but you don’t see me standing on the side of the road looking pathetic, flying a cardboard sign, and playing on your sympathies. I don’t do that because I don’t play people for saps.

sap

The poor are just a bottomless pit. That’s why they call it “pity”. Don’t throw your money into it. The poor aren’t poor because they don’t have enough money; the poor are poor because the rich have no use for them, and the middle-class would rather kiss rich ass than stand shoulder to shoulder with the poor against the 1%. I spit in the eye of the rich and the middle-class, and call them on their bullshit, while the poor who stand around begging, just play the rich and middle-class for suckers, and exploit them for their pity without challenging the status quo.

status-quo-10

Some people prefer to give money to organizations that help the poor, rather than giving to poor people individually, but these organizations play you for rubes too. The Salvation Army hires thousands of “bell-ringers” every holiday season just to suck up all of the money that would otherwise go directly into the pockets of poor people. That is, if business owners didn’t harass, kick and call the cops on every legitimately poor person who comes within 30 ft of their business. Merchants love these “bell-ringers” almost as much as they despise and detest real poor people.

bell_ringer

The money that you drop into the Salvation Army kettle goes to pay a literal army of salaried administrators, who enjoy comfy heated offices, medical benefits, and paid vacation time. They spend their days deciding which projects to fund that will make them look good in the public’s eye, while they dream up new ways to capitalize on the pity of the stupid. What is more obnoxious, a paid asshole who never stops ringing that goddamned bell, or a homeless beggar with a nice quiet sign? Take my advice, ignore them both, and give to me, the one you neither see nor hear.

__hear_no_evil__see_no_evil__speak_no_evil

Some people like to give money to environmental organizations. These groups suck worse than organizations that help the poor. I don’t care whether it’s Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, World Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, or any of the fucking PIRGs, they’re all full of the same bullshit. They’re all just a bunch of spoiled brat white kids who would rather take pictures of dead whales, tortured lab animals, or disgusting landfills full of toxic waste than get a job killing whales, torturing lab animals or making massive amounts of pointless consumer garbage.

Landscape

Every year we have more environmental organizations, and every year the environmental crisis grows more dire. Stop throwing good money after bad, and cut those suckers off.

cutoff 5

The same goes for social justice organizations like the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Doctors and lawyers are the blood-sucking scum floating at the top of the cesspool we call modern society. If doctors and lawyers think they can do something about the injustice and inequality in the world, they should do it with the vast sums of money we already overpay them for creating that injustice and inequality in the first place. Don’t give those greedy bastards one more dime than you absolutely have to.

lawyer-vs-doctor

Finally, too many people donate money every year to support public media like PBS, NPR and Community Radio. For God’s sake don’t get fleeced by these shysters. So what if you let Big Bird babysit your kids or like to watch taxpayer funded programming from some socialist country that forces people to pay for it. That’s no reason to open your wallet for them.

big bird begging

Whenever a publicly funded media outlet asks for money, they always like to remind us how much better they are than Fox News. So what! That’s like gonorrhea asking for money because it’s better than AIDS. Look, we’re all media here. Media ain’t gonna save the fucking world folks. I’m not saying that public media is as bad as a case of “the clap”, but there’s a good argument to be made that we’d all be better off without any of it. There’s some news you’ll never here on public media. Here’s some more: Public media is one of the most overfed pigs at the public trough.

pigs_trough1

They all tell you that it’s non-commercial programming, but that doesn’t stop them from interrupting every fifteen minutes to tell you that the show was paid for by “Saps like you, and generous contributions from Archer Daniels Midland, Cramming Our Food Down Your Throat 247365, Warehouser, Clear-cutting Old-Growth Forests So We Can Plant More Trees, or Massey Energy, We Mine Coal… Fuck You.

massey_energy

Yes, all of those public media outlets enjoy taxpayer subsidies, and suck-up to every evil corporation on the planet for the billions of dollars they give, just for the phony respectability that public media gives them. That’s why you never hear anything like the biting social criticism you read here at lygsbtd, on public media. Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do challenges the right, the left, and everyone in the middle. You won’t get that on PBS, NPR, or even community radio.

PBS

All of those public media outlets know where their money comes from, and they’re not about to rock the boat. I don’t know where my money comes from, because I don’t have any. and I’m all about rocking the boat, because the boat is sinking! Public media still wants you to believe in the system, because they are part of the system. They don’t care what the system does to you or your kids future, you’re already shark bait to them, and they’re the shark.

shark bait 1

For them, it’s a feeding frenzy, and they’re never satisfied. They always want more. It’s time to cut them off, and put your money behind the real independent voice of Southern Humboldt County, me, and this blog Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do. Your kids will never forgive you if you don’t.

never forgive

I don’t take money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because I can’t deal with the paperwork involved. I don’t take money from corporations. I mean, I would, if any of them offered me any, but so far they haven’t. Any corporations looking for favorable coverage from a hot, edgy new-media outlet, I’m listening, but until we make a deal, you are fair game.

Fair_Game

Until now, I have not received even one-cent, from anyone, for producing this blog. Yet, every week, I give you more. I give you more humor, more pictures, more social commentary, more science, more economics, more big words, more of myself than I give to my beloved partner Amy, who’s feeling a little unappreciated right now. So how about it folks? I could sure use some help right about now. My truck broke down last week and it’s going to cost more than a grand to fix it.

truck broke down

If you enjoy reading this blog, and if you’ve gotten this far, you must, click that donate now button. Give a hundred bucks to keep me, lygsbtd, my truck, and my mechanic, going strong in 2014.

2014-marketing-strategy

Can’t afford a whole Benjamin? I understand that times are tough. How about a dollar week? $52, that’s just one dollar per post for all of 2014. It would really mean a lot to me.

In fact, as a thank-you gift, for any contribution of $25 or more, I will send you this lovely Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do coffee mug.

lygsbtd mug

This is a really nice mug. It holds 16oz of your favorite beverage. It has the Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do logo on the side. It’s a good quality ceramic mug, and I’m happy to send it to you for $25. Of course, the real prize is this blog: Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do, and your donation will keep it coming to you all year in 2014.  thanks for your generous support!


Unfamiliar Faces, Familiar Theme

 

Unfamiliar Faces, Familiar Theme

The following letter appears in our local papers this week.  The more I hear other people voice their frustration with the abundance of poor, young people in our area, the more I feel compelled to vent my hatred for the dope yuppies, moochie merchants and real-estate goons who make up the middle-class around here.

yuppie irradication project

Dear Editor,

Before we give voice to any more unkind thoughts we may have about the influx of new faces in our little town, we should remember that these are the faces of marijuana smokers, and that they are the source of our community’s prosperity. The next time you see a cluster of unfamiliar faces cluttering a stretch of sidewalk, ask yourself, “How much money did they spend on marijuana last year?” and “How much will they spend on marijuana next year?” The answer to both questions is “More than they can afford.”

too damn high

They will do without decent clothing, a car, or even a place to live, but they will not go without marijuana. This whole community was built with their money. Not only that, they pay prohibition prices for what would otherwise be a common weed. In order to make big money from marijuana, you need cops, and you need to arrest a lot of people. A million people, more or less, every year, for the last thirty years or so, have worn handcuffs, been strip searched, and made prisoners, in order to support marijuana prices, and profits for local growers.

marijuana_arrests_chart500

Ask yourself, “How many of them have been arrested for marijuana?, How many of them spent time in jail for it? How many of them have been on probation? How much did they spend on lawyers and fines? How many of them have lost, or been denied jobs because they failed a drug test? How much has their enthusiasm for marijuana cost them?”

Marijuana-Laws-750x412

Yes, the unfamiliar faces we see around town pay for the prosperity that this community enjoys in money, time, agony and humiliation. They have, and will, continue to suffer needlessly, just so that this community can continue to demand a princely sum for a common fast growing weed.

pot prisoners

Every merchant and grower in SoHum owes them a huge debt of gratitude, and should celebrate their enthusiasm for marijuana. The least we could do is provide them with a restroom and clean up after them, just like we do at Reggae on the River.

Reggaeontheriver

If you really don’t want to see lots of raggedy looking strangers around town, don’t harass them or vandalize their meager possessions. Instead, donate money to NORML and other organizations working to legalize marijuana, sign the petition to get the Jack Herer initiative on the ballot, and find another way to earn a living that isn’t so dependent on them.

Jack_Herer_1

 

 


Rob Arkley’s War Against the Poor in Humboldt County

 

Rob Arkley’s War Against the Poor in Humboldt County

war against the poor

Humboldt County’s monied elite has had enough of poor people. The people who profited the most from the flood of narco-dollars into the county have decided that poor people are unsightly, and must be punished. Currently leading the assault against the poor is Eureka businessman, landlord, and banker, Rob Arkley.

Eureka, CA Businessman Rob Arkley

Eureka, CA Businessman Rob Arkley

They don’t mind that the whole county has been transformed into a giant drug ghetto thanks to two generations of drug-dealers who have driven up rent and housing costs by turning every square foot of residential space into a grow scene. No, our county’s landlords don’t mind collecting money from people who don’t have a job and aren’t looking for work, but when it comes to people who don’t have jobs, aren’t looking for work, and don’t pay rent, that’s another story.

where am I supposed to live

Thanks to these drug-war profiteers, we now basically have three kinds of people here in Humboldt County. We have landlords. We have drug dealers, and we have poor people, some working, some not, some with housing, some without. They’re all wretched. They’re all disgusting in their own way, and they all cause way more problems than they are worth.

more trouble than they're worth 1

We may produce some of the world’s best marijuana, but when it comes to people, Humboldt County produces, and attracts, the human equivalent of ditch-weed. Rich or poor, you’ll find an abundance of sketchy, dishonest, and generally undesirable people at every income level in Humboldt County. With such an abundance of small-minded opportunists, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Humboldt County has become a cesspool of greed, exploitation and ugliness, and as tends to happen in cesspools, the scum rises to the top, and the sludge sinks to the bottom, trapping a layer of stagnant swill between them, all contaminated with the same toxic culture, and all slowly choking to death on their own filth.

choke

It’s not a pretty picture, but it’s the truth. From the genocide of the Native Americans to the environmental destruction wrought by the gold rush and the wholesale liquidation of the old-growth forests, right up to our modern marijuana based economy, the entire history of Humboldt County has been a story of bad people doing awful things for the very worst of reasons. It’s a bottom-feeders paradise, and it produces some of the grossest scum, the rankest swill, and the most pathetic sludge you’ll ever have the displeasure of meeting.

humboldt loggers

Now that the marijuana money has started to dry up, Rob Arkley, one of the scummiest of our local scum, wants to see if we can drive poor people out of Humboldt County by closing down the last of Humboldt County’s soup kitchens, shelters and public rest-rooms. So, this is how we begin the grisly business of cannibalizing each other. The scum devour the sludge. The sludge leeches off the swill, and the swill sucks up to the scum. There are no “good guys” here. It’s the bad vs the ugly, the ugly vs the sick, and the sick infecting everyone.

two thumbs down

I mean, what is a merchant or a landlord but another scumbag who wants your money. They don’t want to work for a living. They want to use their money to extract money from you. They obviously have enough money for their own needs, plus they have a bunch of merchandise they don’t need, or an extra building or property that they hope to make even more money from. When they see desperately poor people all around them, all they can think about is how that poverty interferes with their greed. It’s disgusting, and when you see what they offer as wages to their employees and what they charge their tenants for rent, you’ll want to slit their greedy little throats. At least I do.

slit their throats

The fact that Rob Arkley is alive today testifies to the extremely tolerant nature of Humboldt County’s poor. I wouldn’t blame the poor and homeless one bit if they burned Old Town Eureka to the ground, or Downtown Garberville for that matter. The county’s poor and homeless have shown remarkable restraint, under the circumstances.  If you ask me, perhaps more than is warranted. It seems to me that the poor spend too much energy fighting among themselves and ripping each other off, when they could be vandalizing private property and murdering landlords who deserve it. Really, if the business community has declared war on the poor, the least the poor can do is return the favor.

death promise

We have about 2,000 homeless people in Humboldt County in the dead of winter, and we have about one-hundred beds available in shelters, a couple of public rest-rooms in Eureka, and a couple of places where people can get a free meal, and those kitchens only operate a few days a week. The vast majority of the county’s poor, get no help from any of those services.

homeless-poor-american-family1

The “social safety net” has been a joke in this country for decades. We don’t have a social safety net. We have poverty. We have poor people with nowhere to go and no prospects for the future. The handful of people who take pity on them are overwhelmed. Donations of food and clothing only go so far, and since most of that comes from private donors, the best that the scum at the top can do is vilify the last decent and compassionate people in Humboldt County in an attempt to stop them from helping the county’s most needy.

i-support-helping-the-needy-i-oppose-subsidizing-the-greedy

It’s a scummy scheme, schemed up by the scum at the top of the cesspool. The ones who got there by sucking up narco-dollars through overpriced rentals, sleazy land contracts and bogus business deals. Now that there are fewer narco-dollars to suck up, they blame the poor, but they are too cheap to hire enough cops to arrest them all, or build enough prisons to house them all.

protect and serve

In fact, the only reason the rich scumbags in Humboldt County got rich on the first place, was because there just aren’t enough cops to catch them in their crimes either. Humboldt county is a big place with lots of places to hide criminal activity. That has been the key to our economic growth for at least the last 40 years. That’s what allowed the marijuana industry to grow and flourish here despite a nationwide crackdown that landed millions of people in prison with stiff mandatory minimum sentences.

kids in prison

Now, we witness a nationwide effort to criminalize poverty, led by scumbags like Rob Arkley in every city in America. Unfortunately, the more we criminalize poverty, the more we will find poverty hiding out in Humboldt County.   Maybe we should think twice before we piss it off.homeless-


The Power of the Press

 

The Power of the Press

power of the press 1

Today, I am especially grateful to all of the writers and editors of our local newspapers here in Humboldt County who helped save my most recent gig. First, I want to thank Jennifer Savage who has been covering the music beat for the North Coast Journal while Bob Doran recovers. Not only did Jennifer do a nice write up about my show, she reminded me to send a photograph, which would not have occurred to me if I hadn’t read her column. The Hum, the NCJ’s weekly music feature is the best single source for upcoming music events in our area, and it was great to see my picture prominently displayed there.

DSC_0218

Kevin Hoover gave me a nice bit of ink in his colorful, and colorfully written paper, The Arcata Eye. Humboldt County’s only daily newspaper, the conservative Times Standard printed my entire 800 odd word press release almost verbatim in their Sunday edition, as did their SoHum sister paper, The (weekly) Redwood Times.

DSC_0226

Not to be outdone, my favorite SoHum newspaper, the family owned, left-leaning, free, weekly paper The Independent printed two great stories about my little gig way up there in Eureka, in the weeks preceding the show, and listed it in the calendar section as well. Special thanks to Managing Editor Joe Kirby for going the extra mile.

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Even the Tri-City Weekly, an oft ignored, but ever present collection of classified ads fluffed out with entertainment and human interest features, gave me a mention on their Calendar page. Counting the listing in the Arts Alive section of the North Coast Journal, that was a total of six newspapers, six stories, one picture, and nine listings in our local print media, for one little performance at a record store. The show had also been mentioned on one of KHSU’s most popular music shows, Fogou with Vinny Devaney, as well as on KMUD’s Community Callendar.

vinny devaney

The biggest surprise in media coverage was a great piece by John Olson that appeared on the RadioHum Yahoo Group web site. John not only plugged my didgeridoo gig, but also mentioned the radio show that I host on KMUD on behalf of the Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club called The SHARC Report. Judging by the number of Hams that turned out for my gig, John’s piece clearly made an impact, and all of that coverage really saved the day for me. Besides putting my name and picture in front of thousands of people and luring some of them to come out to hear me play, that press actually saved the gig itself.

saved the gig

To me, as a musician, this little gig at the record store was a pretty big deal. It’s the only gig I have scheduled this month, and Arts Alive actually draws a pretty big crowd in Eureka. I knew that a lot of people would hear me play over the course of the evening. To most downtown business owners, however, Arts Alive is a pretty small part of running their business. Most business owners want to support local artists, and hate to say “no” to anyone who asks to show their work, or play in their establishment.

hate to say no

Bandon, owner of The Works Records in Eureka is especially supportive of local musicians, so when a personal friend of his asked him, just a few days before the Arts Alive event, if his band could also play at his record store on the same night, Bandon said “yes”, thinking that the two of us could split the three hours of Arts Alive.

dont-say-yes

Now you might think that an hour and a half of unaccompanied didgeridoo solos might be more than anyone should have to endure, but I very much wanted to play for the whole evening, knowing that there would be a completely different audience at 8:30 than at 6:30. I have two new CDs, and I wanted to make this event my CD release party for both of them. I intended to play two sets and demonstrate some of my circuit-bent instruments between sets. Like I said, this performance was a pretty big deal for me, and that’s why I pulled out all the stops on the press coverage.

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My experience tells me that August is a good time to send out press releases because the news gets a little thin this time of year, but newspapers still have the same amount of space to fill, so items that might get ignored during busier times of the year, have a better shot at getting ink in August. Sure enough, every single paper I sent a release to, covered the story, and every single paper told its readers that I would be playing from 6:30 to 9:00pm.

clyde watches cubs game

So, when I checked in with Bandon on the day of the gig, I pressed my case. In a calculated assault, I began with a Savage blow, and dropped a copy of The Hum from the NCJ, that included that great picture taken by Traci Bear Thiele, in front of him, and let it sink in for a moment. Then I dropped the clipping from the Arcata Eye on top of it, followed by the piece in the Times Standard, The Independent, The Redwood Times, the second story from The Independent, and the Tri-City Weekly. Finally, I dropped a printout of John Olsen’s story from the HumRadio Yahoo Group, which was quite well written and flattering, Boom!

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Bandon was overwhelmed. All of the clippings said that I would be playing from 6:30-9:00pm, none of them mentioned any other band playing at his venue that night. Bandon apologized for the mixup, called his friend and told them they could play at his store for Arts Alive next month, but their gig for that night was canceled. Success!

success

I got to play two sets, show off my circuit-bent creations and sell my CDs all night, as I had hoped. I had a great time, Bandon seemed happy about it, and the audience dug it too. It just goes to show you that despite the explosion of “new media”, newspapers still have clout, and Ham radio can still save your ass in times of emergency. Let that be a lesson to all of you seeking attention in the modern media landscape. Do not underestimate the power of newspapers to to change the course of history.

1001-battles-that-changed-the-course-of-history


On The Money; What is Money, and Where Did It Come From?

 

On The Money;

Economics for the 99%

What is Money, and Where Did It Come From?

where and what is money

Money is a pretty weird thing if you think about it. Money can level forests and move mountains. Money can drill for oil on the bottom of the ocean, land a nuclear powered car on Mars or hunt people down and kill them with remote controlled aircraft. Money can turn your life upside down, make your tap-water catch fire and drive you out of your home. When people talk about their problems, money, or lack thereof, is usually at the top of the list. So, what is money, and where did it come from?

what smart people do with money

For most of human history, people had no money. People still had to work to get the things they needed, but the work was much more direct. If you wanted meat, you had to hunt and kill an animal. If you wanted a home, you had to build it from whatever you could find around you. All of this stuff was just hard enough to do that you wouldn’t want to do any more of it than you needed to, but easy enough that most of us could accomplish what we needed to do to survive.

irish-garden

Before money, trade was a much smaller part of people’s lives. If you wanted to trade, you had to find someone who had what you wanted, and you had to have something that they wanted. This might happen once or twice a year. The rest of the time, you made do with what you could find around you, all of which was free for the taking.

Indigenous People Amazon

Before money, nature was “the bank”. People made withdrawals, in the form of the plants and animals they ate and made their clothing from, the trees they made their homes from and the stones from which they crafted tools and weapons, and they made deposits in the form of shit, piss, food waste and eventually, their own bodies, which nature would rapidly recycle into more plants animals and minerals. The system was so well balanced that no one needed accountants, tax preparers or lawyers, and so stable that it lasted for hundreds of millions of years, including over a million years of human habitation, without outside intervention or regulation.

Portrait Of Hivshu RE Peary

If the natural system worked so well, why was money invented in the first place? The answer is beer. Sure, you can find plenty of food, water and stuff to build a house from in nature, but beer is pretty hard to come by. Occasionally, people could collect enough grass seeds, soak them in water for long enough to produce prehistoric beer, but not nearly often enough to satisfy the thirsts of the ancient Sumerians, who lived in the Middle-East, where it gets mighty hot in the summertime.

sumerian beer

The ancient Sumerians were the first people in the world to domesticate wild grasses, and begin farming. They burned huge tracts of forest land that had sustained them for eons, in order to grow wheat and barley. This took an enormous amount of work, and led to major headaches, like plagues of frogs, locusts, and flies, as well as turning a lot of habitable forest land into barren desert, but it did give them beer, and beer was very precious to them. It must have been, or why else would they have worked so hard and sacrificed so much in order to make it?

babylonian beer

So it should not surprise you that the first unit of money was the price of a beer, the Shekel. A shekel is equal to 180 grains of barley, roughly the amount needed to produce one beer. While everything else in the natural world was free, beer was expensive. So people counted their shekels, traded shekels and bought things with shekels of barley. Making shekels was no fun at all, but everyone liked beer, so shekels became the currency of the Sumerians, and that is how money was born.

1 shekel sumer

In economics classes they will tell you that money is a medium of exchange that facilitates trade. They’ll tell you that money is a technological advance that made trade more efficient, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, money was invented to facilitate alcoholism.

alcohol

Many people, economists especially, overlook the central role of alcoholism in civilization. Archeologists have discovered ancient Mesopotamian recipes for beer, and friezes depicting beer drinking on Egyptian pyramids. It was only after beer-making had evolved to a high art, that people began eating the yeast-risen loaves of grain, what we now call “bread”, that were originally used to make to make individual batches of beer.

bread

People eat cereal grains, sure, but compared to a fat steak from a wild antelope, a bowl of cream of wheat is nothing to get excited about. On the other hand, you can’t make beer out of a deer. The psychoactive effects of alcohol, no doubt, made cereal grains especially prized, and as people became habituated to alcohol intoxication, their craving for it grew.

ancient-egypt-beer-006

As is the case with alcoholism, the more you drink, the less you care about anything else, until the quest for alcohol becomes the central focus of the alcoholic’s life. The more focused you become on alcohol, the more the rest of your life tends to fall apart. In order to feed their craving for alcohol, people worked long hours to cultivate grains. As grain farming expanded, farmed fields replaced natural habitat, and wild game became more scarce. With less wild game available, grain farmers increasingly traded with traditional hunter-gatherers, who themselves fell under the spell of alcoholism, making them dependent on the grain farmers for their beer. Thus, grain became a precious commodity. People who had a lot of grain, grew more powerful, and those with the most shekels, ruled.

ancient mesopotamian plow

So we see that money is, quite literally, a drug, and addiction to it has shaped, and continues to shape, the course of civilization. money is a drug


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