Category Archives: Humboldt Co. CA

Pisaster Disaster

starfish_quoteThis starfish wasting syndrome is not funny folks. In case you haven’t heard the story, an epidemic of disease among Pacific starfish, specifically pisaster ochraceous, or Ocher Starfish, the big orange “stars” of beaches and tidepools, is causing them to waste away, fall apart and die in alarming numbers.

alarming numbers
Humans have adored these strangely beautiful creatures for eons, and their popularity hasn’t waned one bit, but within the tidal ecosystem, the ocher starfish is a feared predator, at least to the degree that a bivalve mollusk can experience fear.

fearful-clam-

Frightening or not, the ocher starfish plays the same role in the intertidal zone as lions do on the Serengeti, or that wolves do in Yellowstone National Park. The ocher starfish is the apex predator of Pacific tide-pools. In fact, scientists have learned a lot of what they know about apex predators, like lions and wolves, from studying ocher starfish.

starfish look and learn

Ecology, especially ecosystem ecology, is a very new field of scientific inquiry. It seems hard to believe today, but before World War II, nobody really gave a rats ass about how ecosystems worked. The story of civilization has been one of “plunder first, ask questions later,” and so it goes that the science of studying ecosystems didn’t get under way until well after most of the world’s ecosystems had been severely impacted by industrial exploitation. As a result, we may never know how a healthy ecosystem operates. In a sense, studying ecosystem ecology today, must be a lot like trying to learn about antebellum life and culture by observing a confederate field hospital towards the end of the Civil War.

confederate_field_hospital-600x374

Still the nascent field of ecosystem ecology can teach us a few things about what happens to an ecosystem when you remove a keystone species. In fact, one of the landmark studies in the field of ecosystem ecology looked at the effects of removing just this particular species, pisaster ochraceous from a tide-pool ecosystem.

tidepool anemone-horz

The scientist in this study, Robert T. Paine, marked off two equal sized patches of tide-pool habitat. A couple of times a month, Robert would go to one of those marked off areas, and within it he would meticulously remove every single ocher starfish from that area, and hurl them, as far as he could, into the surf. In the other marked-off area, he did nothing but observe.

bob paine w starfish

Every two weeks or so, for a year, Robert went down to his little marked-off areas and began chucking starfish. Doesn’t this make “ecosystem ecologist” sound like a pretty sweet job? Spend your days splashing around on the beach skipping starfish across the water. How do I sign up? I guess his hands got pretty torn-up from the abrasive skin of starfish, but it still sounds like a pretty good job to me.

good job

Over the course of the year, Paine observed the results of his strange new obsession. In the area where Paine had removed all of the ocher starfish, the ecosystem collapsed. Initially Paine observed dozens of different species living together in that area. Within a year, half of those species had disappeared completely, and those that remained, did so only tenuously. Before long, all but one species completely vanished from the experimental area.

vanished where

The only species left inhabiting the area, had completely taken over. Every square inch of the marked off area was covered with large mussels, mytilus californianus, the ocher starfish’s favorite prey. In absence of starfish, nothing could stop the mussels from squeezing everyone else out of the picture, leaving a desolate monoculture where there was once a thriving, diverse ecosystem.

mussel

Paine published the results of his experiment in 1966 in the scientific journal American Naturalist, and it has become a foundational work in this emerging new field. Paine’s experiment revealed that certain species, specifically predators, have a greater effect on their ecosystem than their numbers suggest.

big impact

Paine’s work with starfish eventually led to federal protection of keystone predators like the spotted owl, and to the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Paine had demonstrated that predators are critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems, and that without them, complex and diverse ecosystems quickly collapse into desolate wastelands overrun with pests.

desolate-wasteland

Like I said, ecosystem ecology is a new field, and its progress has been greatly compromised by the impacts of industrial exploitation. As a science, ecosystem ecology remains in its infancy, especially regarding marine ecosystems, but when it comes to the question “What happens to intertidal ecosystems when ocher starfish disappear?” thanks to Robert T Paine, science can give us a pretty good answer. Unfortunately the answer itself is neither pretty nor good.pisaster starfish-bob paine


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

 


SoHum Drug Dealers Demand More Cops (Continued)

got drugs-horz

This week we continue our coverage of the recent Town Hall Meeting I pretended, that took place a couple of weeks ago at the Redway Elementary School. 2nd district Supervisor Estrelle Fennell called the meeting to address the public outrage at a recent burglary in which some very nice bongs were stolen from a local head-shop.

nice bongs

Despite an ongoing epidemic of murders, disappearances, and drug related violence, this minor burglary, undertaken by a Humboldt teen, has sparked a powder-keg of pent up rage. Unfortunately, the rage is all directed at the poor, the homeless, and young travelers eager to see redwood trees and smoke Humboldt’s famous marijuana, none of whom had anything to do with this crime.

People protesting for squatters' rights at the home of the justice minister, Ken Clarke

Last week I shared Supervisor Estrelle Fennell, and Sheriff Morton Downey’s opening statements at the meeting. After the opening statements, they released the hounds, so to speak, and the mob of angry townsfolk had their opportunity to ask questions and make statements. Here are some highlights:

highlights

The procession began with Cinnamon Sugar O’Toast, the sweetest woman to ever work for the Garberville Redway Chamber of Commerce. She presented a stack of petition signatures. She had hoped to present a stack of hand-written letters, but their letter writing campaign only generated three letters (and one of them was from me). Cinnamon Sugar presented her petition, and demanded that a Sheriff’s deputy be available 24/7 in Southern Humboldt, and that the Sheriff’s Department institute foot patrols in Garberville and Redway.

foot patrol1

“My daughter shouldn’t have to walk through three smoking circles, two drunks passed-out on the sidewalk and a crazy guy screaming curse words at no one in particular, every time she walks from one end of town to the other.” Cinnamon Sugar exclaimed. “ This town is not safe! You need to do something about this Sheriff Downey!”

not safe anywhere

“What do you want me to do, lady? Should I gouge your daughters eyes out with a red hot poker?” Sheriff Morton Downey asked. “This country is falling apart.” Sheriff Downey continued, “I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but have you been up to Eureka lately, or Arcata, or McKinleyville for that matter? It’s a goddamned freak-show from one end of this county to the other. I’ve never seen so many pathetic, fucked-up people in my whole life as I see on the streets of Humboldt County right now. Most of them aren’t doing anything illegal, and a lot of them were born and raised here. I know it ain’t pretty, but there’s no law against being ugly in public, and it’s not illegal to ask for spare change.”

freak show coming to town

“Well I happen to know, Sheriff Downey, that we collect 25% of the County’s total sales tax down here in Southern Humboldt, and we are not getting our fair share of county services!” Cinnamon Sugar shot back.

shoot back1

“What? You think that because you overcharge people for everything down here you deserve special treatment?” Sheriff Downey responded, adding: “You may collect 25% of the sales tax, but you don’t comprise 25% of the population, you don’t have 25% of the roads or infrastructure, and you don’t have 25% of the crime. When it comes down to it, we collect about 90% of our sales tax, county-wide, from about 1% of the population, and that 1% of the population, always wants more cops, and wants them to get rid of the undesirables.

Burns-1 percent

Fascism costs real money lady, and the sales tax you collect doesn’t cover the costs of bringing back the Third fucking Reich.” with that Sheriff Morton Downey moved on to the next question.

Adolf Hitler's campaign to unite Austria and Germany, 1938

“Why don’t you bust the drug dealers who are selling meth and heroin on the streets of Garberville?” came the question from a man wearing a Foxfarm Fertilizer T-Shirt.

foxfarm_tshirt lg

Sheriff Downey let out a snort of a chuckle, “You want us to go after drug dealers, huh?” he began, but could not contain himself, and he burst out laughing, sending a tiny droplet of spittle over the podium and into the audience. His guffaws grew to full bellied convulsions as he doubled over in hysterical laughter, gasping for breath, his face turning bright red and tears streaming down his cheeks. As he struggled to control his laughter he said. “Oh my god… You people really crack me up. I just about peed my pants.” Sheriff Downey took a moment to compose himself, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

dog-laugh-funny-lol

“Listen,” Sheriff Downey began, “If I want to bust a street dealer in Garberville, I’m going to have to assign an undercover cop, and he’s going to need backup. Do you really want undercover cops on the streets of Garberville?” Sheriff Downey asked, adding, “Because I’ll tell you what will happen if I do. If I put an undercover cop on the streets of Garberville, it’ll be your kids who get busted. I guarantee it. I don’t want to bust your kids.

bust your kids

When I bust a street dealer, I’ll find an insignificant amount of drugs, maybe one gun and almost no money, and I’m liable to get jabbed with a dirty needle during the frisk. I’d rather bust you. When I raid a pot farm in the hills, I know I’ll find hundreds of pounds of marijuana, and we’ll seize guns, land, vehicles, and generators, not to mention thousands of dollars in cash. It’s a no-brainer really.” Downey explained.

Drugs guns money seized

Next, a woman told her story about coming home from work late one night, and finding a man she had never seen before, lying in her bed and wearing her makeup and underwear.

transvestite in bed

“When I saw him I screamed, and ran over to my neighbor’s house where I called the Sheriff. They told me that it would be several months before they could do anything about it. Then they told me that they would only come out during regular business hours, and that I would have to pay them $275 first, so I should do my best to convince the man to leave voluntarily.” the woman explained. “ How can you stand there, Sheriff Morton Downey, and tell me that you are doing anything to protect the public from dangerous criminals and sexual perverts when it takes you several months to respond and you charge $275 for the service?” she demanded.

don-t-just-stand-there-bust-a creep

“Where have you been?” Sheriff Downey responded. “We’re the fucking Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department for God’s sake! We’re the guys who pointed machine guns at your kids. We swabbed pepper spay into the eyes of idealistic young non-violent protesters. We showed the FBI where Judi Bari’s car was parked. Where would you get the idea that we protect anybody?”

cop machine gun-horz

Sheriff Morton Downey continued, “We protect property ma’am, real property. If you can prove that you own the house, and you get a judge to sign an eviction order, and you pay us $275, we’ll come down there and put that freeloader out on the street. That’s what we do ma’am, and that’s why we have a Sheriff’s Department here in Humboldt County. We evict people from homes all the time, and we’re happy to do it for you, but you have to have all of the paperwork in order so it’s nice and legal.”

evictions

“But I rent the apartment I live in.” The woman inserted.

MyApartments

“Well then,” Sheriff Downey replied, “It looks like you found yourself a new roommate. I hope that’s OK with your landlord because I’d evict both of you for the same $275. Next question.”

roommate-

Another visible angry man, shaking with rage, rose to his feet, approached the podium and yelled: “You have to do something about all of these homeless transients hanging around town! They hang around town all day! They crap everywhere! They’re smoking cigarettes, and flying signs! They’ve got dogs! They smell bad and THEY DON’T BUY NOTHIN’!!!”

buy nothing day

“Well” Sheriff Downey responded, “None of those things are actually illegal. What do you sell?”

what do you sell

“Real Estate” the angry man said.

suckers wanted

“Let me handle this one Morton” Estrelle Fennell injected, “I’m very upset by this whole situation. The nerve of people showing up in Southern Humboldt without at least a quarter of a million dollars in their pocket really galls me. I strongly agree with the sentiment expressed here tonight that unless you can afford your own home or a piece of real-estate, you probably belong in jail. After all, that’s why we have jails in the first place, and laws for that matter, but clearly we don’t have enough laws, or jails to adequately address this problem.”

Jail-overcrowding

Supervisor Fennell took a sip of water and continued, “Some have suggested that we pass a new county ordinance, that would target these nogoodnics, like maybe an ordinance to prohibit smoking in the presence of a dog. We could call it ‘third degree cruelty to animals.’ I’ll bet the Sheriff could nail a lot of ‘em for that, but the problem is that because of ‘realignment’ we just don’t have room at the county jail. We don’t have the facilities to lock up every street kid who subjects his dog to second hand smoke. Look, you people have mostly owned your homes and land for thirty years or more. Thanks to Prop 13, you hardly pay any property tax, and cops and jails cost big money.”

big-money

“So, I’ve been working with the Garberville Redway Chamber of Commerce on some new signage that we think may ease the problem a bit. We think that it’s very important that we communicate the right message to the many people who visit Garberville each year. We want people to feel welcome, but we also want them to respect our local merchants so we have devised these new signs that you will soon see popping up all over town.”

Garberville welcome to buy

“We think this succinctly describes our feelings towards the people who visit Southern Humboldt. We are glad they’re here, so long as they spend money. When they stop spending money, it’s time for them to leave. It’s a very simple message that anyone can understand. We would like to see everyone adopt this friendly greeting when they meet someone who is new to Southern Humboldt, just say ‘Welcome to Garberville, buy something or get the fuck out of town!’ it’s a simple, honest way of saying, ‘Hey, we don’t care what how you make your money, we just want you to spend it here, and then go away.’” Supervisor Estrelle Fennell explained.

give us your money

Of course, lots of people asked questions and made statements at this recent Town Hall Meeting, but I don’t have time to imagine all of them. From what you’ve read here, I’m sure that you can. The tension in town remains extremely high as the Garberville Redway Chamber of Commerce continues to scapegoat the poor and homeless for current economic conditions, and their own bad business decisions, while they goad the rest of this frustrated, confused and resentful community to pile on.

confused mind


Area Drug Dealers Call for More Robust Police Presence in SoHum

dealers and cops

I pretended the recent Town Hall Meeting called by Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor Estrelle Fennell to appease local drug dealers and the businesses that cater to them, who are now upset about the lack of police presence in Southern Humboldt. Unlike many community meetings I’ve attended, at this meeting, my community really impressed me with their honesty, candor and eloquence. I would like to share the highlights, just so that lygsbtd readers get a sense of how this unique community works together to solve serious problems.

community hands

By way of background: For many years now, drug related murders, disappearances, violent crimes and home invasions have been a normal part of life here in Southern Humboldt County. At least half-a-dozen people have gone missing, under suspicious circumstances, this year alone, and too many of those crimes go unsolved, but a recent event has shocked this small, remote, rural community to it’s core, and sparked a wave of outrage.

outrage doesn't look good

On the night of May10, 2014, an 18 year old kid from Fortuna, broke into a local head-shop and stole some bongs. As hideous as this crime is to contemplate, a skinny teenager, shimmying under the security door of a head-shop in the far back corner of an industrial park on the outskirts of town, one fact in the case horrified the community even more.

horrified horsey-horz

It seems that the perpetrator’s initial intrusion triggered an automatic alarm system that notified the Sheriff’s Department, but no deputies were ever dispatched to investigate the break in. Obviously noting the lack of response, the intruder went back into the store a second and third time, stealing more bongs, and leaving fingerprints as well as his image recorded on surveillance video. All together, the kid stole about $3,500 worth of overpriced dope smoking toys, which were then recovered when the kid was apprehended.

StolenBong

As you can understand, even though SoHum owes most of it’s prosperity to the fact that there are no cops here, this event has outraged this community. The idea of a young person, with a wanton disregard for private property, coming to SoHum and stealing from a community of underworld gangsters and drug kingpins, is terrifying enough, but the fact that the Sheriff didn’t send an officer two hours out of his way, to investigate a call from a machine, has suddenly made people feel unsafe in their own homes.

frightened woman

Facing a barrage of criticism, 2nd district Supervisor Estrelle Fennell called the meeting, and dragged Humboldt County Sheriff Morton Downey along, to face a gymnasium packed with angry drug dealers eager to vent their spleen.

vent your spleen

Supervisor Fennell opened the meeting with an eloquent statement that summed up the situation beautifully. I think I can recall it verbatim:

estrelle fennell

“For two or three generations now, politicians, law enforcement and underworld criminals have worked together to perpetrate the most heinous crime against humanity to take place in North America since slavery and the genocide of the American Indians. Over the last four decades, the War on Drugs has decimated cities all over America and destroyed tens of millions of American lives.” Supervisor Fennell began.

war on drugs2

“And it’s not like this community has been immune to the terrible consequences of these misguided policies” she continued, adding, “This community has lost lots of wonderful people, and our children are forever scarred by the trauma of the War on Drugs. Still, overall, here in Humboldt County, by working together with law enforcement, we’ve managed to turn America’s catastrophe into our little pot of gold.”

pot-of-gold

“Whether you make your living in law enforcement, as part of the prison industrial complex, in the black market as part of our vibrant marijuana industry, or in the white market, selling stuff that drug dealers want and need, we should all remember that if it weren’t for America’s tragic War on Drugs, we’d all be working at an Applebee’s somewhere.”

Applebees-horz

“Today we see that the whole country is falling apart, yet we have money, land and expensive toys. To deal with this new crisis, we need to work together with law enforcement in a new way, to keep America’s disaffected youth from coming to Southern Humboldt and attempting to reclaim their stolen future.” Supervisor Estrelle Fennell concluded, finishing with: “Now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Humboldt County Sheriff Morton Downey to talk about some of the steps the Sheriff’s Department is taking to address this new crisis.”

crisis-cartoon

Next, Sheriff Morton Downey took the stage, and I liked what he had to say too.

Sheriff morton Downey podium

“Thank you Supervisor Fennell. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to so many of you this evening. I realize that these are challenging times for all of us. We face budget cutbacks. You face falling marijuana prices, and we’re all facing a generation of angry kids with no money, no place to live and no future. They’re hungry, they haven’t slept well and they’re pissed off. If they weren’t so fucked up on drugs they’d probably slit our throats while we slept, so we in law enforcement do appreciate the effort that you, in the black market, have invested in reaching America’s youth.”

drugs youth

“We know that people hate us and the War on Drugs has given them plenty of good reasons, so we take steps to deal with the threat. Look at us! We don’t go anywhere without a flack jacket and a loaded gun, and if anyone looks at us funny, we pump them full of lead. You’d be surprised at how much more secure you feel when you’ve got a good quality Kevlar vest on and pistol on your hip”

cop-with-pistol-in-bulletproof-vest

“You guys have got guns! You know how to use ‘em!” Sheriff Downey said emphatically, adding, “I see a couple of murderers here tonight. Hey, a deal is a deal, but we get calls from bereft family members every day.

crooked-cop

They want to know what we are doing to find their missing family member. How do you think it looks to those grieving parents when I tell them that we’re short staffed, and there’s nothing more we can do to find their missing son or daughter, and then we put out a county-wide dragnet to find a teenager with a stolen bong? Don’t you see how this puts us in a very awkward position?”

awkward cop

“I don’t mean to be unsympathetic, but I thought we had a deal: we leave you alone, and you don’t complain about it. Well, we’ve left you alone, and now you’re making a big stink about a silly little burglary. Burglaries like this happen every day in Eureka, despite the fact that they have their own police force, and some of the most violent cops in California.

eureka-ca-epd-

Cops don’t prevent crime; cops create crime. The sooner you realize that, the better.”

corrupt-cops-

“We’re always happy to work with the community, but we do face budget constraints, and after dealing with Gary Lee Bullock, we’d just as soon let you guys kill each other down here as haul your ass up to Eureka. I know you guys are always complaining about the transients and the homeless and the people from out of town, but every time something really tragic happens around here, it always turns out that your kids are responsible. Keep it in the family, folks, and thank your lucky stars that there aren’t more cops around.”

too many cops

After that, Supervisor Fennell opened the floor for questions, and local community members really had a lot to say, but I’m afraid that it will have to wait. Tune in to lygsbtd next week for the thrilling conclusion to the Town Hall Meeting held in Redway, last Thursday.

thrilling conclusion


The Living Earth Connection Airs Sunday at 9:30AM on KMUD

living earth connection

My partner, Amy Gustin has been up to her eyeballs in library books for weeks now, in preparation for her quarterly radio show, The Living Earth Connection, which airs this coming Sunday at 9:30 AM on KMUD Community Radio. Amy is the smartest and most interesting person I know, and her reading habits reflect that. Lately, it’s been books about ecosystem ecology, carnivore behavior and wolves.

Wolves-stand tall

Right now she’s in the middle of the final rewrite of her show, which means that I’ll spend the rest of the week recording, editing and assembling it in time to air this coming Sunday morning. We produce The Living Earth Connection, in it’s entirety, including the original theme music, at home, off-the-grid, using solar power and our own equipment.

solar powered recording gear

If you haven’t heard The Living Earth Connection, you should check it out. If you have heard The Living Earth Connection before, you know that Amy always puts together a great show, and often finds very creative ways of conveying her message. I’m sure this episode will be no exception. I hope you’ll tune in.

tune-in-

The Living Earth Connection airs on the fifth Sunday of the month, in months that have five Sundays, at 9:30 AM on KMUD Redwood Community Radio. You can stream the program live or listen to an archived version at http://www.kmud.org and you can learn more about The Living Earth Connection at www.livingearthconnection.wordpress.com


Sometimes Recycling Pisses Me Off

recycle-symbol-numbers-key
We have a lot of free newspapers and magazines around here, and most of them are hardly worth the cover price. I pick up the North Coast Journal because they cover local arts, barely, but at least you can open the NCJ and read about a local artist, see who’s playing this week, and who is showing where for Arts Alive.

local arts

Lately, the NCJ seems to have undergone a complete talentectomy, and now appears to be written entirely by interns with the aid of the janitorial staff, so I find that fewer and fewer features in the NCJ get past my “dreck” filter.

dreck mag

I didn’t notice Thadeus Greenson’s piece until I was getting ready to recycle it, and I should have just sent it to the shredder, but it pissed me off that this guy would compare medical marijuana patients, sick people who need medicine, to oil company executives bent on destroying the earth to satisfy their pathological greed.

marijuana v oil companies text

Anyway, the following letter appears in the latest edition of the NCJ

NCJ BANG

Dear Editor,

I just stumbled across Thadeus Greenson’s piece Behind the Brown Act in the May 8 edition of the NCJ. In that piece, Thadeus Greeenson compares local citizens, upset about a proposed ordinance that would prohibit them from growing their own medicine, to oil company executives bent on fracking.

fracking_gas flare

In an effort to match this level of hyperbole I ask: “What If homeowners in Willow Creek were complaining about Jews, and the distinctive smell of gefilte fish, not to mention the impacts of visible Mezuzahs and Menorahs? Would the county be considering an ordinance to treat Jews like any other destructive, polluting and extractive industry?”

arbeit-macht-frei camp

The ordinance in question would prohibit private citizens, living in residential neighborhoods, from producing the medicine they need. These people didn’t ask to get glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy or any number of other serious conditions. If the county won’t provide these people with free medical marijuana, the county should, at least, not bother patients who grow their own medicine, in their own yard, regardless of size.

Medical-Marijuana-Protester10

Whether it’s lawn mower exhaust, toxic fumes from dryer vents, smoky barbecue grills, or trucks left idling in the driveway, suburban residents constantly assault each other with foul smelling clouds of toxic gas. If medical marijuana patients have to put up with their neighbor’s leaf blowers and dryer fumes, those neighbors can also tolerate the non-toxic smell of marijuana.

smokey lawn mower

To stop medical marijuana patients from growing more than they need, and diverting the surplus into the black market, the obvious solution is complete legalization. Until then, we should understand why anyone involved with marijuana in any way, would be very cautious about revealing their identity, considering the long history of government persecution that marijuana users have endured, and the social prejudice against them that remains.

prejudice-child of ignorance-horz


Forget Schools, Declare California “For Adults Only”

adults only beach

I was glad to learn that our local school bond, “Measure N” failed in our recent primary election. Schools seem like a lost cause to me. Really, why should taxpayers waste their money on subsidized daycare for the offspring of people who are too stupid and irresponsible to use birth control. With 7 billion+ people on the planet, I don’t think it makes sense to subsidize parenthood.

child care subsidy

Seriously, what are the chances that anyone stupid enough to bring children into a grossly overpopulated world, in the midst of the greatest extinction event in 65 million years, at a time of unprecedented government surveillance and economic oppression, has enough brain power to participate in a meaningful way in their child’s education? No amount of school funding will ever help stupid, selfish, irresponsible people raise smart, generous pillars of the community. Besides, public school is what made their parents into the dimwitted monsters of capitalist conformity that they’ve become.

conformity hazard

We should remember that, just like short people, who have kids solely to make themselves look taller, stupid people have kids specifically so that they will have someone dumber than them around, to make them feel smart. As long as we continue to subsidize moron and midget reproduction through taxpayer funded public schools, we’ll remain locked in a race to the bottom, both in altitude and intelligence.

race_to_ the bottom

What do we think we have to teach kids anyway? We should know by now that our way of life is destroying the planet, and that we have no freaking clue how to live sustainably. Children raised by wolves would have more survival skills than today’s high school graduates, but of course, there are no wolves around here anymore.

wolves

I think we should put a “wolf bond” on the ballot. If it passes, the school board will spend $10 million to reintroduce wolves into Humboldt County. Then parents could tie a pork chop around their kid’s neck, send him out to stand in the woods and tell them to wait for the school bus. Let the wolves decide who’s worth educating. Problem solved.

raised by wolves

School bonds are such a ripoff anyway. It makes no sense to borrow money from a bank, and then have the taxpayers pay it back with interest. Taxpayers end up spending two, three or five times as much money as they get value, while bankers make a fortune from these low-risk investments.

bankers fleece school kids

It makes much more sense to pass a school levy. In a school levy, the taxpayers finance the schools directly and cut the bloodsucking banksters out of the equation, but thanks to Prop. 13, no one can muster the votes necessary to pass a school levy. Prop. 13 has turned California from the best state in the nation for public education into the worst.

California1-broke

Really, if you want decent public education, move to Mississippi or Alabama.

welcome to  mississippi

People come to California for the sunshine, the surf, the gay sex and the drugs, not because they want to get smarter. If we were smarter, we’d declare California an “Adults Only” state.

adults only bw

Think about it: Surfers don’t have the time, or sense of responsibility, to raise kids. Gay people have a foolproof method of birth control and drug addicts make terrible parents. In short, nobody in California should be having kids.

californians

If we made California “Adults Only,” we’d never have to spend another dime on public schools. We’d never get stuck behind slow school buses that stop every 300 feet. They could sell cigarettes and candy from the same display rack, and put porno magazines out with the comic books. We could leave loaded guns, Draino and dangerous pesticides anywhere we felt like, and we wouldn’t continue to ignore homeless adults while we built more playgrounds and ball-fields for kids with no future.

no future

Instead of listening to parents whine about their kid having to walk past a homeless adult, who might be smoking or drinking, homeless adults could report any children they see to the proper authorities, and a cop would pick up the kid and put him on a bus to Alabama. Pregnant women would still have a choice: abortion or deportation.

deport abort

I am so sick of irresponsible parents thinking that they have a right to tell grown adults what they can and can’t do, because of how it will affect their children. The time to change the world is BEFORE you have kids, not after. If you didn’t want your kid to see a naked schizophrenic humping a stuffed giraffe on the sidewalk maybe you shouldn’t have gotten knocked-up in a world as crazy as this one.

sick fuck

If you can submit your kid to the horrors of this sick world, then your kid should also see what this sick world does to people. If you aren’t willing to do anything to make the world better for the people who are already here, then you shouldn’t bring any new people into the world, at least not until we pass the wolf bond.

wolves protected


I Entertain Children

bored-girl

I hope you caught my performance in the belly dance tent on Saturday night at the Mateel’s Summer Arts and Music Festival, the weekend before last. With my partner Amy Gustin on Theremin, Patrick, who I just met earlier that day, and don’t even know his last name yet, on Djembe, and Yours Truly on electric didgeridoo, we rocked that belly dance tent! Didn’t we?

i-rock-the-house

As a didgeridoo player, I often find myself playing at herb shops, tea houses and yoga retreats. I don’t get to play through a bumpin’ stereo PA, for drunk people who want to dance, nearly often enough. That was a real treat. I am grateful to the Mateel Community Center for giving me that opportunity.

mateel

The Mateel treated us really well, all weekend. The Mateel knows how to treat musicians, and they treated us right. We had a great time at the event. I especially appreciate the talent coordinator, who booked us to play both in the belly dance tent, after dark, and on the kids stage, early in the day. It’s hard to know what to do with a didgeridoo player, but they gave us a broad opportunity to connect with an audience.

Connect-With-Your-Audience

We were a little surprised to discover that we were booked to perform The Big Picture on The Youth Stage, sandwiched between two clowns, and a puppet show. I’m not complaining, or even poking fun here. I appreciate the gig. It’s just that we never thought of The Big Picture as children’s entertainment.

childrens-books

We don’t have children ourselves, or even like them much. Entertaining children is just not something we think about. I enjoy living an R rated life. I prefer not to check my language, limit the scope of my humor, or refrain from abusing drugs, so most people know better than to let their kids anywhere near me.

malboro costume

As a musician, I consider it my role in life to encourage people to ingest mind-altering substances, and then to make them glad they did. I consider it noble work and I take it seriously, but even I understand that recreational drug use is not appropriate for small children.

baked baby

Amy conceived of The Big Picture for her Sunday morning radio show, The Living Earth Connection which airs on KMUD at 9:30 AM on the fifth Sunday of the month. Amy’s show is usually quite intellectual, and requires a bit of concentration. It’s probably over the heads of half of the adults around here, let alone the children.

Gallagher-Over-Your-Head

We got the idea of blending my psychedelic druggie space noise didgeridoo music, with her thought provoking ideas, after listening to one of our favorite albums: Albedo 0.39 by Vangelis. Specifically the final song on the album, coincidentally also titled Albedo 0.39.

vangelis_albedo

For this song, Vangelis found a clever way of adding a vocal track to his, otherwise instrumental, synthesizer music, without having to write lyrics. On Albedo 0.39, we hear a soft spoken English gentleman, with a sonorous voice and excellent diction, recite a list of statistics about Planet Earth. These include the length of the day and year according to two different measurements, the Earth’s mass, density, diameter, distance from the sun, speed, escape velocity, etc, concluding with “Albedo 0.39.”

vangelis albedo.poster

Albedo is the percentage of light striking a non-luminous object that gets reflected back out into space. The Earth’s albedo is 0.39, or at least it was in 1973, when Albedo 0.39 came out. In other words, 39% of the sunlight that strikes the Earth, gets reflected back out into space. With the poles melting, and the Asian Brown Cloud spreading, the Earth’s albedo may have changed in the intervening years.

EarthAlbedo

Swirling around this vocal track, we hear one of Vangelis’ trippiest analog synthesizer soundscapes. I always liked that piece because it makes you glad that you got good and high before you listened to it, and even though you were totally wasted, you still learned something.

learning beyond

We assume that most KMUD listeners are already baked at 9:30AM on Sunday morning. We thought we might try the same approach with the radio show. We would combine something over your head, with something for your head. That was the inspiration for The Big Picture.

??????????????

We thought it came out pretty well, and the audience let us know that they liked it, so we decided to take it on the road, and to perform it live. That’s how we found ourselves on The Youth Stage at Summer Arts and Music Festival, performing a piece designed for KMUD’s wake-and-bake listeners, to small children who were not stoned. I learned a lot about children’s entertainment that weekend, and I got to witness some great performances by some really talented artists:

talented artists

A OK The Clown devised a great interactive game that illustrates the problem of Global Climate Change. Riding a very tall unicycle, AOK pretended to be the atmosphere, while a circle of eager children surrounding him, pelted him with rubber balls, pompoms and hula hoops that symbolized the smoke, smog, and other airborne pollution that contribute to Global Climate Change. Frantically pedaling his unicycle, A OK endured a relentless shitstorm of hurled objects that brilliantly symbolized the assault on nature waged by industrial society.

A OK the clown

Following A OK, came Mickey The Clown, an old school circus clown who was as kindly and gentle as he was entertaining. Mickey had a great song about suburban sprawl and habitat loss, told from the perspective of a frog named Freako. Freako the Frog was so catchy that I still can’t get it our of my head.

frog cartoon

Then came our drugged out head trip, The Big Picture, with Theremin solos. After us, the Kinetic Paranormal Society Puppet Troupe took the stage. This very talented puppet troupe included a band, great puppets and terrific voice actors. Their, very funny, production also had an environmental message as well, but we never heard the end of it because we had to go get lunch before they shut down the kitchen.

lunch backstage

Environmental education seemed to be the overarching theme of all of the acts that performed on The Youth Stage, including The Big Picture. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think it’s great that clowns and puppets are educating children about environmental issues while their parents are getting smashed on overpriced beer.

mommy daddy and me

On the other hand, I think, “Can’t a kid throw stuff at a clown without turning it into some kind of learning experience?” Today’s children are going to have to deal with the consequences of environmental crises, that they had no part in creating, for the rest of their lives. Do they really need to be lectured about it by a sock puppet when they are four years old? The parents need lectures not the kids.

irresponsible parents drugs

That’s why we created The Big Picture, to lecture adults about what a fucking mess they’ve made of the planet, and where we went wrong as a society. It’s a tough message, but it’s easier to take when you’re stoned. I don’t know what the kids thought of us.

confused kid 1

I don’t really see how you can educate kids about the environment without implicating their parents. If kids today knew how stupid, crazy and wrong their parents were, and how much damage they’ve already done to the planet, those kids would run screaming back to their mother, claw their way back up her vagina and into the womb with the admonition “Fuck you! You stupid, selfish, irresponsible idiot! Now quit fucking around and clean up this mess, and I am not coming out until you do!”

Mom says Clean Up_Your_Mess

That’s what happens to kids who spend any time at all around me, before long they cuss like sailors and hate their parents. We’re happy to perform The Big Picture for birthday parties, and children’s events of all kinds, for children of all ages. You provide the drugs.

tim leary gif


Bring The Clippers to Humboldt!

Humboldt NEEDS CLIPPERS

Well, NBA Commissioner David Silver lowered the boom on L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for the racist comments his sneaky, weird-looking girlfriend recorded in a conversation he thought was private. This raises one important question: Are all of the suits who run the NBA named after a white precious metal?

white precious metals

This also means that an NBA franchise will soon go up for sale. This is an unbelievable opportunity for Humboldt’s status seeking dope yuppies. Can you think of a better way for one of Humboldt’s successful entrepreneurs to gain prestige for themselves, and for their community, than by buying the L.A. Clippers, and bringing them to Humboldt? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

clippers cheerleaders

Really, where else but Humboldt does a team called “The Clippers” belong? Houston has it’s Oilers, Pittsburgh has it’s Steelers, and Nebraska has it’s Cornhuskers. Humboldt deserves it’s Clippers, and The Clippers deserve Humboldt.

HUMBOLDT HEART CLIPPERS

I know that this would work out great. It just takes the right dope yuppie, or group of dope yuppies to put up the money to make it happen. It doesn’t take any brains or talent to own an NBA team. All it takes is money, and by golly we’ve got plenty of that here in Humboldt County.

HUMBOLDTS GOT CASH BRING

Everyone knows that you haven’t really “made it,” unless you own your own NBA franchise. Face it, without that team, you’re just a low-life, sleaze-ball drug dealer, jerking off on a mattress full of cash, in a house full of toys, in the middle of nowhere. You need this team. Humboldt needs this team. Nothing would put Humboldt County “on the map” like our own NBA franchise. Imagine it.

humboldt county map

The first time the Humboldt Clippers make the NBA Playoffs, the world will wake up and take notice. People in places like Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Miami will know that Humboldt’s got game. Without that team, we’re just some hick backwater full of pea-brained yahoos riding around on ATVs.

hicks on ATVs

Is that how you want people to think about Humboldt County? So quit wasting your money on $4 beers at parties for piss-ant local non-profits. You could be sipping single malt scotch, court-side at a Humboldt Clippers game. Surrounded by cheering fans, everyone would know that you were the one who transformed Humboldt County from a great place to catch Lyme Disease into a great place to catch “Clipper Fever.”

HUMBOLDT CLIPPERS FEVER

We’ll give The Clippers a total Humboldt makeover, and they really need it. How many NBA fans know the difference between a clippership, a friggate and a dinghy? What do boats have to do with basketball? …or L.A. for that matter? An L.A. Team should have an L.A. name, like The Quake, The Smog, or The Traffic. If they had to name the team after a boat, they should have called them “The Container-Ship Full of Chinese TVs.”

container ship

The Clippers were obviously meant for Humboldt, and here in Humboldt, we know what clippers are, what they do, and what they look like. We don’t really want the team to resemble clippers in any way, but clippers are an essential, but often overlooked and unappreciated part of Humboldt’s marijuana industry. Having a local NBA franchise named after them will help them take pride in their work, and recognize their contribution to the industry, without having to pay them any more money.

HUMBOLDT CLIPPERS DESERVE RESPECT

The Clippers mascot could have a ferocious pair of Wiss-Clips for a head with a big eye in the finger hole. His whole body would be a mass of shaggy buds. Call him “Snippy.”

MASCOT HUMBOLDT CLIPPERS SNIPPY

We may not have the major population center, sports arena, or even the international airport, but Humboldt’s got heart. I know we would support an NBA franchise. I mean, I personally would never go to a Clippers game, but I know that a lot of people around here are into that crap.

HUMBOLDT GOES IN FOR THAT CRAP

I’m sure that lots of people around here would buy tickets to see the Humboldt Clippers play, because they have plenty of money, and nothing else to do with their lives. They’d buy T-shirts, jerseys, ball caps and hoodies with the Humboldt Clippers logo, because they don’t have any better taste than that, and you can bet that they’d attend the home games, getting shitfaced on overpriced beer while they yell and scream and jump up and down, just like they do at music concerts, because they have no manners. How much more support do you need than that?

HUMBOLDT NO SENSE NO TASTE

Yes, Humboldt County is full of people who would make great sports fans. Look at them. They already put the word “Humboldt” on almost everything they own.

HUMBOLDT SUPPORTS CLIPPERS

These are people crying out for a team to support. Bringing an NBA franchise to Humboldt County would give fulfillment and purpose to their otherwise meaningless lives.

HUMBOLDT CLIPPERS BELONG

 

Can you think of a better way that you could serve your community? Then go ahead and DO IT! Buy the L.A. Clippers and bring them to Humboldt!

HUMBOLDT BRING CLIPPERS


I Help to Solve a Community Problem

ask not

The Garberville Redway Chamber of Commerce has graciously asked for letters from the community to help solve the problems we face here in Garberville. Eager, as I always am, to serve my community, how could I deny such a request?

how can i deny

Dear Garberville Redway Cahamber of Commerce,

g r c of c

We have a serious problem here in Southern Humboldt with all of the low-lifes, sleaze-balls, drug addicts, drug dealers, criminals and mentally deficient creeps hanging around town. This has been a huge problem for as long as I can remember. I thought there was nothing I could do about it. After all, they own most of the land for miles around, run most of the businesses in town, and now they’ve even taken over the county government.

assholes

I think the main reason we have so many greedy, small-minded, scummy people around town has been the long-running War on Drugs. For many years, most people in America thought that marijuana was a dangerous drug, and that prohibition was the only way to keep it away from children. People are finally waking up to the fact that marijuana prohibition does not protect children from a dangerous drug, but instead, pointlessly destroys the lives of millions of Americans, including children.

war-on-drugs

Southern Humboldt, because of its remoteness and the privacy offered by densely wooded parcels on steep, rugged terrain, became popular with the kind of people who saw the War on Drugs as an opportunity. For more than 30 years, Southern Humboldt has attracted the kind of people who would rather profit from the suffering of millions, than stand up for what was right. These people callously and cynically game the system, while posing as upright law-abiding citizens. Many of them built comfortable, middle-class lives for themselves, completely subsidized by hard-working American taxpayers, and paid for in the blood, money, jail-time and anguish of victims of the War on Drugs.

war on drugs

The black-market does not attract America’s best and brightest, so much as it attracts America’s greediest bottom-feeders. This, I think, is the single biggest problem we face here in Southern Humboldt today. I can imagine that a lot of good people have moved away from our community because of the underworld takeover of Southern Humboldt, and I bet all of the clandestine activity around here turns off most prospective home-buyers, except of course, the greedy bottom-feeders, who instantly feel at home.

bottomfeeder

I can see why people would not feel comfortable with drug-dealers as neighbors. In most of America, one drug-house in a neighborhood can dramatically reduce the desirability of that neighborhood to prospective buyers. Who, besides a drug dealer, wants to move into a neighborhood where every house on the road is a drug-house, and into a town where most of the traffic is drug traffic?

hidta

So, we have a real problem. The black-market marijuana industry has turned SoHum into a scum magnet. The more scum we attract, the more repulsive our community becomes to decent people who would make good neighbors. It’s a death spiral. This is how communities become drug ghettos.

ghettopoly

We have a high crime rate, epidemic drug addiction and suicide rates, rampant poverty and homelessness, all of the problems you would expect to find in an inner-city drug ghetto. Sure, there seems to be plenty of money around, and the people who live here look like honest middle-class Americans, but you don’t have to talk to them long before you realize that the fashionable clothes and late model cars are just a thin veil over rotten garbage.

rotten garbage fashion

Like rotten garbage, the whole situation in town smells worst towards the end of Summer, when an influx of part-time transient scum run afoul of our entrenched local scum. As a result, we have lots of scummy people being scummy to each other all over town. It’s as pathetic as it is silly, but the fact is, all of these scummy people need each other to do the scummy work they all came here to do.

scummy people

It takes 12-16 hrs of manual labor to trim every single pound of marijuana. Southern Humboldt’s entrenched local scum grow millions of pounds of marijuana every year. There’s no way local people could trim it all. The annual influx of migrant laborers is just another unsavory aspect of the whole unsavory black-market marijuana industry, for which Southern Humboldt is justifiably famous, but unjustifiably proud (and even more unjustifiably, rich).

humboldtl_marijuana_impacts

I think the only real solution to this whole wretched problem would be a collapse in the price of marijuana, brought about by abolishing marijuana prohibition. As long as the black-market in marijuana flourishes, this infection will continue to fester. The clandestine marijuana industry self-selects for greed, dishonesty, opportunism, and indifference to others, and no amount of economic benefits derived from that industry can make up for the impact that so many scummy people have on this small rural community. The sooner we starve the clandestine marijuana industry out of Southern Humboldt with cheap, mass-produced, legal marijuana, the sooner we can get rid of the parasites, traitors, and general scum that clandestine, black-market, criminal activity, invariably attracts.

Legalize cannabis good for the whole family

I love Southern Humboldt, and think it is a great place to live, not because of the people who live here, but because of the lack thereof. I wholeheartedly support anything we can do to make Southern Humboldt appear less attractive. I appreciate the Garberville Redway Chamber of Commerce for being so hostile and repulsive to people visiting our town, and our local business community for being so insensitive to the needs of young travelers.

garberville redway chamber of commerce

Between the unfriendly signs, lack of services, exorbitant prices and open hostility, no one in their right mind would mistake Garberville for a nice place to live. Now if we can just starve out the dope yuppies, and the business owners who cater to them, we can get back to the quiet, peaceful, rural lifestyle we all came here to enjoy.

peaceful redwood forest


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 106 other followers