Category Archives: Eureka

Big Photo Finish to Our Summer Tour (This is gonna suck if you have a dial-up connection)

tin can luminary at NCF2shpshcppsh

Last weekend, my partner Amy Gustin and I performed at North Country Fair in Arcata.

tin can luminary at NCF3cps

We had a terrific time playing for an appreciative and generous audience.

tin can luminary at NCF8 cp

We performed a couple of pieces from Amy’s album, The Big Picture, and one from my album Um… Uh…Gum Eh? as well as several new works-in-progress.

tin can luminary at NCF4pshcp

After a busy Summer, we expected to conclude our season of live engagements with our performance at North Country Fair, one of our favorite venues, before taking some time off to record a new album.

tin can luminary at NCF9 sharp

Most bands that play North Country Fair don’t bring a full, theater-scale, light show, but since it was the last show on the tour, we decided to go all out.

Tin Can luminary mind blowing light show

It did take a rather extraordinary effort to set up 50,000 watts of lighting and four floors of scaffolding for a 45 minute set, but I think all who were in attendance would agree, it was worth it.

lightshow Tin Can luminary

As a band, Amy and I sound pretty good, but our light show will blow your mind. You really need to experience it first-hand.

lightshow Tin Can Luminary 1a

Photographer Bob Doran turned up for the event, and took all of these great photos.

tin can luminary at NCF1 cropsat

After our set, we chatted a bit with Bob.

tin can luminary at NCF7perspective crop

In addition to being a music writer and photojournalist, Bob Doran is also associate producer of my favorite radio music show in Humboldt County, Fogou, with host Vinny Devaney from 2-4pm Weds on KHSU.

tin can luminary at NCF1 blueng

Bob invited us to perform on Fogou the following Weds. Of course we were honored and delighted to play for KHSU’s listeners on Fogou.

tin can luminary at NCF3 crop s3-tile1ct

We met Bob at his exquisitely decorated home in Arcata, and met his lovely wife Amy.

tin can luminary at NCF4 bright1m-tile2

Before we went to the station, Bob showed me some of the photos he took at North Country Fair. Bob has a great eye, and his photos were not only well composed, but they captured the energy of the event as well as our personalities.

tin can luminary at NCF7perspective

I really appreciate that he came out early on a Sunday morning to catch our set.

bob doran thanks

When we got to KHSU, we set up on the floor of the studio.

tin can luminary on fogouwshcp

We had some technical difficulties with the Theremin, which took a while to work out, but we played four pieces from our repertoire and did our best to help them raise money during their pledge drive.

tin can luminary on fogou op-tile1

Bob Doran took several photographs of our performance on Fogou.

tin can luminary on fogou1 linecp

I had a great time, and it was a real kick to be a part of my favorite radio show.

tin can luminary on fogou1 line neg2 ud-tile


Hear us on KHSU 2-4pm Today, Weds. Sept. 24

This afternoon, my partner Amy Gustin and I ( aka The Big Picture, Tin Can Luminary) will perform, on Theremin and electric didgeridoo, on my favorite radio music show, Fogou, from 2-4pm on KHSU.

KHSUThe show’s host, Vinny Devaney, and co producer Bob Doran play the most diverse, and eclectic music you will hear anywhere.

vinny-devaney bob doranWe’re very excited to play on Fogou, and I hope you will tune in.  If you don’t know the frequency, or the web address where you can stream the show live, google that shit.  I’ve got to get some lunch.  This week’s regular post will be up later this afternoon.


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


No Public Wifi in SoHum Means No on Measure Z

No-Wifi-no-z I’m getting tired of this. I mean, I enjoy writing. That’s not quite right. I love putting my thoughts in your head. That really means a lot to me. The fact that you are reading this right now totally turns me on. I want to keep you coming back for more. That’s why I go to the trouble of writing an essay every week, and then spend three or four hours stealing pictures to illustrate it. worth stealing I’m happy to share what I have to offer, free of charge, but it sure isn’t easy. Believe it or not, we have no free public wifi anywhere in SoHum. There’s no wifi at the library, none at the Garberville CR campus, neither the Mateel nor KMUD nor any of the county buildings offer an open router. In order to use public wifi, in SoHum, you have to get on a bus, bound for Eureka, which costs money. I’ve done it, but working on the bus makes me nauseous. sick on bus That only leaves two cafes, in all of SoHum that offer wifi. One of them makes sadistically bad coffee, and requires patrons to spend $5 an hour. At the other, I linger much too long over coffee and a cookie, and try to avoid the owner’s hairy eyeball. The staff is great, and always make me feel welcome, but both places have loud music or TVs blaring, making concentration difficult at best. Neither are good places to work. distracting I’m really sick of it. So Hum needs a public internet connection at least as much as we need a library or a post office. I can’t even pay the sales tax I owe, as a small business owner, without an internet connection. If the government is going to require me to use the internet to pay my taxes, they damn well better provide someplace where I can get online to do it. I’ve written to my Supervisor about it, repeatedly, to no avail. I’ve even pointed her in the direction of a federal grant program to provide broadband service to rural communities. Nothing. nothing Meanwhile, our Board of Supervisors hands out a $16,000 subsidy to local ranchers, so they don’t have to pay the full cost of their hazardous materials inspections. Just a couple weeks ago it was $67,000 a year, for the next four years for subsidized pest control, through a notoriously inhumane and environmentally destructive agency known as Wildlife Services, again for ranchers, and other rich people living in country estates. Before that, they let developers off the hook for the costs of infrastructure to serve new subdivisions, another huge giveaway for land speculators and developers. welfare ranching Every week, at the Board of Supervisors meetings, all of their rich rancher and developer friends whine about how hard it is to make a living on 1,600 acres in Humboldt County and why they need more subsidies, and our Board of Supervisors practically weep in sympathy for them. Meanwhile 2,000 or more Humboldt County residents sleep outside, under bridges behind stores, or anywhere they can find because they have no place to live, and the Supes want them arrested. It’s sickening. Sickening-lacquer Wifi at the fucking library, that’s all I ask. I know that the library is only open four days a week. I can deal with that. Just don’t make me sit in that goddamned cafe all day. I come to town once a week, and once a week, I have work to do online. Out where I live, internet access costs about as much as I pay in rent, and half of the year, I don’t even have the electricity to use it, so an internet connection at home is out of the question for me. out of the question1 Allegedly, this is the birthplace of the back-to-the-land movement (don’t get me started). These hills should be full of people like me, who live simply, close to the earth, without a lot of luxuries, who need to get online from time to time, just like they need to go to the post office once in a while. I know that a lot of people need a public wifi connection in town. I see them at the cafe. I see them try in vain at the library, and I hear them complain about it. I sympathize. It sucks. sucks1 I know a lot of people say we need more sheriff’s deputies. That’s bullshit. The cops around here are violent, corrupt and out-of-control. The last thing we need is more of them. Local merchants who call the cops every time they see a group of people hanging out on the sidewalk don’t want more sheriff’s deputies, they want subsidized bouncers, so they can treat Garberville like their own private country club. Now our teary-eyed Board of Supes wants to play Santa Claus to them too, and they want ME to pay for it. SANTA_CLAUS They want YOU to pay for it too. They want to raise the sales tax, so that every time we buy anything in Humboldt County, Lee Ulansey’s cronies on the Board of Supervisors skim the cream to finance big giveaways for rich developers and welfare ranchers, not to mention fat pensions for overpaid, crooked cops. They call it Measure Z, and they’re hoping you’ll sleep through it. Don’t! VOTE Lee Ulanseys hands Measure Z puts Humboldt County’s richest hands, into it’s poorest’s pockets. Measure Z would make homeless alcoholics pay for utility hookups in new McMansion devos. Measure Z would make HSU students pay for that guy who kills a hundred raccoons every year for no good reason. Measure Z would make me pay someone to harass my friends on the streets of Garberville. VOTE STOP SUBSIDIZING Sales tax is a regressive form of taxation that unfairly burdens the poor. The rich have internet access at home, and can order stuff online, avoiding sales tax altogether. A lot of rich people own businesses and can buy what they need wholesale, at Costco, tax free with their merchant ID number. Poor people pay retail prices, at local shops. Poor local people will pay most of that tax. being-poor-Z-horz Single mothers will pay it when they shop for back-to-school supplies for their kids. Working people will pay it when they buy work clothes, shoes, furniture, and appliances. Homeless people will pay it when they buy prepared food because they have no kitchen to cook in. This new proposed sales tax will help Humboldt County’s richest and greediest suck more blood from underpaid workers, overcharged tenants, and poor families just struggling to survive. VOTE STOP RICH GREED HEADS Not only that, a new sales tax will turn Humboldt County into one of those special sales tax districts. I hate those special sales tax districts. Those fucking special sales tax districts make it that much harder and take that much longer, to file my taxes, which really pisses me off when I’m trying to do it in a fucking cafe on my third cup of guilt-coffee, with teenage techno beats pounding in my ears. Well Fuck You Very Much Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. VOTE FUCK YOU BOARD OF SUPES


God, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, and Me

God-horz

I’ve been really busy on a couple of new radio projects. One of these radio shows relates to this blog, and will air this Sunday. I really enjoyed doing it, and I’m excited to share it, so let me tell you a little about it:

let me tell you a story

Sunday, August 31, at 9:30 AM Pacific Time on KMUD Community Radio,

kmud-radio-logo
I will appear (if one can be said to “appear” on radio) as a guest on:
The Living Earth Connection:
A Show That Examines the Root Causes of the Ecological Crisis and Seeks to Change Our Vision of Our Place in the World

livingearth back cover

On this show I talk about classical music, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, the phenomenology of the organism and the metaphysics of ecology, in that order. You know, just a regular “off the cuff” interview. We prerecorded the interview last week, and finished editing it last night.

off the cuff stuff

I know this material pretty well, but it’s quite heady. I had the rare privilege, as an interviewee, to edit the interview as well. I did my best to eliminate the long pauses and unnecessary digressions to make it as pleasant to listen to, and easy to understand as possible. Some great bits didn’t make the cut. We only have an hour of airtime, after all. This show was entirely Amy Gustin’s idea, but now that we’ve completed it, we’re both happy with how it came out. We may even post some of the outtakes as additional material on the Living Earth Connection blog.

living earth connection

I got invited on the show because of an essay I wrote that first appeared on this blog. Well, that, and the fact that I sleep with the producer, got me invited on the the show to talk about the essay titled: You Don’t Have To Call It God, But Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Exist. Amy really liked the essay, because it points out that the best available science supports an animist, or indigenous worldview, while it indicts objective science, technology and the dominant culture.

future indictments

The essay has nothing to do with God. It’s about science, perception and phenomenology. Religion gives God such a bad name, that I hated to use the G word in the title, but “A Short Essay on Phenomenological Metaphysics” has no hook. God is still a celebrity with SEO gravitas, so I went with the stupid title.

seo stupidity

This essay elicited the most inspiring comment I have yet received in three-and-a-half years of blogging:

Frank Josef Orange
May 28th, 2014 at 1:22 am | Edit

This in regards to your essay You Don’t Have to Call It God: I’ve been a searcher all my life, read Relatively for the millions at around 11 but I was never able to do the math but I came to understand the principles.
Looked for god in LSD ,weed ..got closer
The strange thing is that recently I’ve been having some health problems, the kind you know will be the end ..ya just know, the odd part is that answers have been just showing up, I happened to watch a documentary DMT the spirit molecule And your essay, and all of it is coming into clarity.
That all of us and everything ever,was and forever well be One.
And it is simplicity and perfection and oneness and ..Self ?

Although there is still the problem how this thing came into existence. Something can’t spontaneously exist from nothing.
Could be we are just one of many beautiful shinning entities.
Oddly I’ve come to not care.

To conclude though, there were many things that lead me to the conclusions I’ve come to, but I have to say your essay just about puts the dot at the end…….

What can you say about a comment like that? Words matter! I write!

words have power

Frank read the essay about a week earlier than most of you, because I accidentally hit “Publish” when I meant to hit “Schedule.” The post appeared on the blog early, for about 10 seconds, but because he subscribes, the post went right to his email. When he came back to post a comment, it ended up under the previous week’s post. I’m telling you this, because, hey, sometimes there are bonuses for subscribers.

bonus

There are bonuses for listeners too. I always find it easier to understand something when someone explains it to me, than when I read it. On the radio show, I go into much more detail about the science behind the essay, and the implications of this world view. I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of what you read on this blog is just pointless drivel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but this radio show is different. This radio show can change the way you see the world. At the very least it will give you something to think about. I hope you’ll tune in. 

tun in loungeclick this link to stream or download Part 1 of the show

click this link to stream or download Part 2 of the show

 


Boomer Karma

boomer-karma-horz

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

boomers Jake Dimare quote

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

boomers cynical

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

hippies on sidewalk

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

boomers-grow-old-horsey

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

hippies turn on collage

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

hippie BW-tile

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

hippies take over park

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

hippies_and_hipsters-tile

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

self inc

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

colorblindideology

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

hipies love free earth

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

hippy chick beer


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


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