Category Archives: Cannabis

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


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


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


Celebrating Three Years of Stoned Thinking at lygsbtd

stoned hominid

Today we celebrate the biting social criticism, the outside-the-box perspective and the occasional joke that you’ve come to know as Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do. For the last 156 weeks, I’ve brought you Humboldt County’s funniest, most irreverent and intellectually challenging blog. I realize I don’t have a lot of competition in those areas, but it’s nice to be the big fish in a very small pond. I just hope some dope yuppie doesn’t decide to drain it, to water his marijuana crop.

water pot plants

Speaking of marijuana, which we never stop doing here in Humboldt County, if marijuana is a consciousness expanding drug, how do you explain all of the small minded people in Humboldt County? Yes, we have plenty of marijuana around here, but not nearly enough stoned ideas.

stoned brilliant

Anywhere else, people spend enormous amounts of money on small quantities of marijuana, just so they can think stoned thoughts. Here, we have plenty of marijuana, and all people think about is money. That’s why lygsbtd is so vital to this community. Without stoned ideas, Humboldt County is just West Virginia with pot farms instead of coal mines.

west virginia

Here at lygsbtd, I know that marijuana is for getting high, not for getting rich. No one gets rich from marijuana; people get rich from prohibition. While drug-war profiteers drain salmon streams and destroy habitat just to squeeze a few more drops of blood from prohibition as it heaves its last dying gasp, I use marijuana as fertilizer, to raise a bumper crop of stoned ideas, because stoned ideas have the power to change the world. That’s why I started lygsbtd, wayyyy back in May of 2011.

wayback machine

Stoned ideas matter. Stoned ideas matter, because stoned ideas are natural ideas. Stoned ideas tell the truth because stoned ideas are too stoned to lie. You don’t learn stoned ideas in school. You don’t get stoned ideas from advertizing, and you sure won’t hear stoned ideas from politicians. You might find stoned ideas in books, hear them in music or read them in blogs like this one, but you’ll only recognize a stoned idea if you are stoned enough yourself.

stoned enough

On the auspicious occasion of the third anniversary of this blog Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do, I hereby renew my sacred vow to keep stoned ideas alive, and I ask you, Dear Reader to do the same. These days, our minds face a constant assault from toxic, synthetic corporate concepts, pop-media junk thoughts and stale old-fashioned prejudices. Only by vigorously thinking stoned thoughts can we protect ourselves from developing a crippling thought disorder, like Beatlemania, Libertarianism, or Christianity.

beatlemania

We need stoned thoughts, and we need each other. Every time you read one of these posts, stoned thinking grows stronger. Every time you read a post at lygsbtd, the forces of darkness diminish. Every sentence you read here liberates a consciousness from the slavery of corporate brainwashing. Thank you Dear Reader for making this blog a beacon of stoned thinking, shining unto the world.

Lighthouse1

Every week, thousands of you, from all over the English speaking world, park your browsers at this URL. Even though you can’t be bothered to leave a comment, or even click the goddamned “like” button, I know from my statistics that you are out there, staring silently, impassively, like rubbernecking gawkers at a bad traffic accident, looking for blood.

rubbernecking

…And I give it to you. Every week I open this vein. Every week I pour myself out for you, because I know thirst. I know what it is like to search for stoned ideas, for kindred spirits, for signs of life among the ruins of our shattered culture. I know how barren, vapid and desolate the internet is. I know that you need this blog, and cling to it the way a drowning man clings to a life preserver.

life preserver

That’s why I never miss a week.  I see the impact that lygsbtd has on people’s lives. For instance:

impact

1. Two years in a row, lygsbtd has ranked in the top 5 blogs in Humboldt County in the North Coast Journal’s “Best of Humboldt” readers poll.
2. Posts from this blog have been republished in such diverse outlets as Fifth Estate Magazine, Vermont Progressives, Thai Style Living and Lost Coast Outpost.
3. If you “google” lygsbtd, you’ll find at least 9 pages of web results that reference this blog.

web impact

This blog matters, and because this blog matters to you, it matters to me.

laughing matters
So, as we move into the fourth year of lygsbtd, let’s make a mountain of this molehill.

molehill

Email your favorite lygsbtd post to a friend who may not have discovered it yet. Share a lygsbtd post on fb.

share nice

Tweet about something you read here.

like share tweet

Don’t just passively consume this blog…

passive consumer

…become a Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do activist.

better activist

Stop sitting on the sidelines gawking at the destruction,

sitting on the sidelines

and help stoned thinking go viral.

go viral not

Share these stoned ideas and help change the world.

change_the_world_

Like you’ve got something better to do.

love-lygsbtd


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

ecigs changed my life

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

arouse

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

bad habit

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

cheap smokes

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

ecig blue led

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

ecig pink

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

ecigs fancy

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

ecig marlboro

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

dont like

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

vaporizer pen

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

trimming weed

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

trimming machine

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

problem-solved

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

THC extraction

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

ecig guy

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

lemme_think_about_it

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

e-cig-truck

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

economy-of-scale

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

simplify simplify

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

humboldt-county-young people

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

hippie rolling joint

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

ecig smoker

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

humphrey bogart obi wan kenobi

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


Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

Mythbusting the “Back to the Land” Movement

mythbusters

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

HiiMR logo

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

old hippies

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

bigfoot-kiss

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

haul junk

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

plane in woods

…speedboats without engines,

speedboat

…Italian sports cars overgrown with poison oak,

car sports overgrown

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

doggie diner head

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

harley davidson wine coolers

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

the maltese-falcon

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

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

covetous creatures

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

 

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

Bowling_Balls in the woods

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

locomotive

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

HOARDING-path

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

coo coo clinton

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

boomer 2

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

boomer leeches


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