Tag Archives: Pot

The Ganjier’s Circular Reasoning

ganjier_

Lately, I’ve noticed a new circular tucked into the North Coast Journal, from our local SoHum cannabis dispensary, Wonderland Nursery. Even though we live in the heart of the marijuana industry, we were one of the last places in California without a dispensary, until Wonderland opened up a few years ago specializing in potted cannabis seedlings. I see from their circular that they now also dabble in edibles and concentrates.

shatter

I’ve never been to Wonderland, but I always enjoy hearing “The Ganjier” of Wonderland Nursery, Kevin Jodrey talk about marijuana. In my lifetime so far, I have listened to way too many people talk way, way, waaaayyyyyyy toooooo much about marijuana. Really, I love marijuana,and I’ve grown marijuana, but I don’t find gardening particularly interesting. I’m more interested in getting high, and when I get high, the last thing I want to hear, is some idiot drone on about how awesome this new strain of marijuana is. I get it. I’m stoned. It’s good pot, now shut-up about it.

shut up and smoke

But it’s different with The Ganjier. Kevin Jodrey really knows his cannabis, and he’s very articulate and well spoken. When I have the opportunity to hear him talk about marijuana, I take notes. So, of course, I read the editorials that appeared in the Wonderland Nursery circulars. I don’t think I’ve ever read an editorial in an advertizing circular before, but I’ve also never seen a circular advertizing marijuana plants before, so the Wonderland Nursery insert struck me as novel for a couple of reasons.

kjodrey-

Anyway, the first editorial I read from the Ganjier pointed out that as we move towards legalization of cannabis, the interests of the “cannabis cause” will diverge from those of the “cannabis industry.” I appreciate the heads up Kevin, but I’ve seen the cannabis cause, and the cannabis industry, and I don’t think the two could be any more divergent. The cannabis industry loved prohibition because prohibition made an easy to grow weed more valuable than gold.

marijuana-money1

The cannabis cause was made almost entirely of marijuana consumers. The people I met through High Times Freedom Fighters and Mass Cann all had jobs. Back then, people from the “cannabis industry” only joined the “cannabis cause” after they got busted. Some of us grew our own weed, but we supported the legalization movement with money we earned AT WORK, and we attended rallies, wrote letters, and went to meetings in our “free” time, AND we bought marijuana at outrageously high black market prices.

need money for weed

Thankfully, Jack Herer came along. Jack sold books, bumper-stickers and T-Shirts and taught people all over the country how to sell legalization. Thanks to Jack Herer, and his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, marijuana legalization became a business, and anyone could open a franchise. Jack taught us to sell legalization, and pretty soon, some people were making a living from it. That’s what turned the tide towards legalization. The cannabis industry had almost nothing to do with it.

Jack Herer at Ann Arbor Hash Bash 1990

The cannabis industry was busy making money, from us, the cannabis cause. They were buying big diesel generators, damming creeks and putting out rat poison. They were breeding better marijuana. I’ll give them that, but when it comes to legalization, the cannabis industry was not a big help, except for the fact that marijuana smokers everywhere really, really, resented the high prices, and that resentment motivated them to work for legalization.

too damn high

So, now that legalization seems inevitable, and the cannabis industry begins to rise up out of the muck of prohibition, it’s not asking “How may we help you?” Instead, it’s warning us that it may no longer have our best interests at heart. The Ganjier warns those of us who want to “free the weed” that the cannabis industry prefers to “expensive the weed.”

cost of cannabis

In the second editorial, however, The Ganjier laments all of the bad publicity that the cannabis industry has experienced lately. Why does the press always focus on the habitat destruction, the murders, the stream diversions, and the rat poison when there’s so much more to the cannabis industry than that? Look, one dispensary uses electric cars, the Ganjier tells us.

hemp car

The Ganjier thinks that the cannabis cause should help the cannabis industry with its little image problem. I don’t think so. Here’s why:

why1

First, People should know that Humboldt County is a terrible place to grow cannabis. People should know that this is not farmland. We live in a forest. The land here is steep and poorly suited to agriculture. You cannot produce cannabis here economically, without the huge government subsidies known as prohibition. This is not a place for farmers. This is a place where criminals go to hide their criminal activity. Now that cannabis is going legal, the cannabis industry should move out of the closet known as Humboldt County.

come out of the closet

Second, people should see the ugliness and the stupidity behind the current cannabis industry. People get killed. People get hurt. Lots of people get ripped off. Besides that, people in the cannabis industry do a lot of really stupid shit, like setting a camper on fire on the side of the road, or dropping a refrigerator off of the Alder Point bridge or leaving a truck full of diesel fuel parked in the riverbed.

truck in river

Finally, the cannabis industry has all of our fucking money. If the cannabis industry gave a fuck about anyone but themselves, not only could they have legalized pot, they could have financed a guerrilla army that would have already liberated this nation from the capitalist police state, once and for all. They don’t give a fuck. Instead, they want bigger trucks, wider TVs and newer smart phones. So fuck ‘em.

fuck em paccino

Listen, if the newly emerging legal cannabis industry wants help from the cannabis cause, the cannabis industry damn well better find a way to produce marijuana at a reasonable price. No marijuana is worth more than $50 an ounce, and I’d much rather see the current cannabis industry collapse as support the environmental destruction, violence, and stupidity that defines the cannabis industry today.

drug dealing dog


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


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


Ashtrays and the Evolution of Smoking Culture in America

Ashtrays and the Evolution of Smoking Culture in America

cultural evolution

I can’t believe how rapidly smoking culture has evolved, just in my lifetime. When I was a kid, my parents both smoked cigarettes… indoors. Damn near every table in the house had an ashtray on it, some had two. They had fancy ashtrays, for special occasions, and they had everyday ashtrays. They even had extra ashtrays in a drawer in case they had company.

ashtray

I remember that you used to be able to buy ashtrays in stores, and they had lots of different kinds. They had cheap disposable ashtrays stamped from foil,

ashtray pinup

nice expensive ashtrays that looked like they belonged on an executive’s desk,

ashtray airplane 1

glass ashtrays,

ashtray glass square

metal ashtrays,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ashtrays carved from solid rock,

ashtray stone 1

and an amazing assortment of ceramic ashtrays.

ashtray ceramic-asst

These things really existed. I distinctly remember ashtrays,

ashtray eye

avocado-green boomerang-shaped ashtrays,

ashtray avacado boomerang

round mosaic-tiled ashtrays, as big as a dinner plate, that weighed at least ten lbs,

ashtray mosaic

stacks of brightly-colored mod-looking ashtrays manufactured from some sort of polymer resin.

ashtray-stack

I know I remember ashtrays.

ashtray remember

You would see one of these things, and you immediately knew what it was. You wouldn’t dream of using it for anything else. Even if it was brand new, people would look at you like you had lost your mind if you decided to, for instance, eat pudding out of an ashtray.

ashtray eating pudding

The intended purpose of an ashtray was to provide a non-flammable place to rest a lit cigarette, a suitable receptacle for flicked ashes, and a surface onto which a cigarette butt could be safely snuffed out. Ashtrays came in a bewildering array styles because people wanted their ashtrays to match the decor of the rooms those ashtrays would inhabit.

ashtrays

Do you remember ashtrays? I know there are young people out there right now thinking “ash trays?”, like they never saw those two words combined before. They have no idea what I’m talking about. They’ve never seen an ashtray, not even on TV. If you wanted to show a kid an ashtray, where would you go? If you wanted an ashtray for yourself, where would you go to buy one?

ashtray free

The disappearance of ashtrays, coupled with the number of people I’ve seen sitting under the eves of their own homes tells me that very few people smoke cigarettes indoors anymore. If you can’t do it in stores, bars or restaurants, and nowadays people won’t even do it in their own homes, cigarette smoking seems to have become an exclusively outdoor activity.

smoke outside

I’m mostly happy about this. I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I have become much more sensitive to cigarette smoke. I can’t imagine living with someone who insisted on smoking cigarettes indoors today, but I also feel for smokers. It must be a drag to have to excuse yourself from a warm cozy room to go stand outside in the cold, rain, snow, wind, heat, whatever, with nothing but a coffee can full of sand for your butts, like some kind of exile. That’s harsh.

bad habit

At the same time, marijuana smoking has become much more accepted. As a result, you can find boutiques all over this country that cater to marijuana smokers. You’ll find these shops stocked to the gills with a dizzying array of new smoking products ranging from vaporizers and dabbing nails, to hookahs and bongs to bubblers, hand pipes and rolling papers, no ashtrays, oddly enough, but tons of other smoking accessories.

head shop

I don’t know what pot smokers are supposed to do with the ashes that result from smoking marijuana, but the free market has provided them with a million new ways to turn marijuana into ash. After that, pot smokers are pretty much on their own.

bong girl

From the look of all of this new smoking gear, nearly everyone who smokes marijuana, does it indoors. Half of the new vaporizers plug into a wall outlet. Not many of those out in the woods. Nobody takes a glass bong the size of a bassoon to go get high in the park. Giant, conspicuous smoking apparatuses like that, stay at home, in a room.

Two-Girls-with-Tattoos-Smoking-10-Foot-Bong

I’m sure that part of the reason people smoke pot at home is the legal environment. Because of marijuana prohibition, pot smokers have gotten used to smoking in secret, so they do it privately, behind closed doors. Even now that two states have made smoking marijuana a legal recreational activity, both Washington and Colorado still prohibit marijuana use in public. It seems that even as legalization takes hold, considerable social pressure remains to keep marijuana smoking an indoor activity.

smoking marijuana indoors

Today, we see cigarette smokers outside under the eves with their cancer sticks and their can of sand, while marijuana smokers sit comfy and warm in their blacklit bedrooms with their Rube Goldberg meets Dr. Seuss smoking contraptions,

bong2

and maybe an old saucer that they drop their ashes into, or perhaps a potted plant. I use an oyster shell, personally. I don’t know what other people do.

OysterShell

It’s got to be rough for people who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes. They smoke some pot, but then they’ll have to step outside for a cigarette. They’ll have to ask someone to hold their contraption, go stand under the eve, smoke their butt, come back in, enjoy a few tokes, then it’s back out under the eves again. These people need revolving doors, and when was the last time you saw one of those.

Revolving Women

It kind of reminds me of segregation. I know it’s not the same thing by a long shot, but cigarette smokers used to rule the world. They wouldn’t even ask, “Do you mind if I smoke?” before they lit up. The air belonged to them, and if you didn’t like it, too bad. Businesses put ashtrays everywhere, just to remind cigarette smokers that they were welcome to fill the establishment with foul smelling fumes, and free matches, bearing the company logo were always close by.

ashtray_pappas_ashtray

Now cigarette smokers stand out in the cold like dogs who don’t know how to behave indoors, while marijuana smokers sit on the sofa in climate controlled comfort, fondling their preposterous pyrex party pipes, looking around for someplace to dump their freshly cashed bowl. My how the tables have turned, but I’ll bet you won’t find an ashtray on any of them.ashtray on a turntable


Celebrating Holimins

Celebrating Holimins

celebrate holi2

Well the Holiday Season has finally arrived, the time of year that we set aside a few days to spend with our family, just to remind us that there really are a few things worse than work. We all recognize the importance of holidays, and why we need so many of them at this time of year, when the weather turns cold, and the nights are long. We take our holidays when we do, because that’s when we most need a break from our daily grind.

daily-grind-web-version

By the middle of November, most of us are on the verge of going postal. Then, just as we are about to snap, the four-day Thanksgiving Weekend rolls around. After four days of turkey, beer, and televised football induced oblivion, we can drag ourselves back to work with something like a smile on our face, knowing that there’s just four more weeks till Christmas, and then the whole fucking year is over in a week-long orgy of food, gifts and alcohol abuse. That’s why we have holidays.

Orgy Diego Rivera

Without the holidays, we’d never get through the year without killing somebody. Whether it’s our bosses, coworkers, elected officials, the general public, our family or ourselves, we all have our lists, and every year the holidays come along just in time to to save their lives, and help us get through the rest of the year without incurring a lengthy prison sentence. But what about the struggle just to get through each day?

daily Grind

If you’re like me, you know how difficult it can be to get through a whole day, let alone year, without strangling somebody or curling up into a fetal position, sobbing and screaming “Why… Why… Why…” until you are too hoarse to speak. I know that life is hard, and every day is a struggle. Everyone deserves a break from the stresses of the day now and then. That’s why I invented:

(cue dramatic sound effect, Ka-Bam)

KAB_Rnd4refineBlk

The Holimin

(cue angelic choir ahhh- ahhh- ahhh).

angelic choir

The holimin is a kind of micro-holiday. Holimins break up the day with little one-minute-long celebrations that let us set aside the burdens of our daily grind for a moment of merriment. My partner and I, being the cultural creatives we are, have been celebrating holimins for more than five years already, and in that time they have become a cherished tradition for us. We now celebrate many holimins throughout our day, and we have developed customs and rituals around each of them.

traditions-and-customs

Some holimins are more festive, some more spiritual, while some simply remind us of who we are and what time it is. You might celebrate some of these holimins yourself, and not realize it. For instance, lots of people around here, and cannabis enthusiasts all over the country for that matter, celebrate the holimin that falls on 4:20.

4_20

If you’ve ever sparked up a joint or fired up a bong load precisely, and intentionally at twenty minutes after four, you’ve celebrated the 4:20 holimin. I very much enjoy this holimin, even though I smoke pot all day long, I take special pleasure in it when I do it at exactly 4:20. Around here, parties often start at 4:20. Informal groups often gather to partake in cannabis smoking at 4:20, and some employers even schedule breaks at 4:20 to allow their employees to enjoy a smoke at that time.

bong chick

All over the country, people set aside what they are doing at 4:20, pick up a joint or a bong or a pipe, add fire and inhale. This simple act changes their whole perspective on the day, and makes them feel better, and forget about whatever it is they were doing at 4:19. Yes, 4:20 provides an excellent example of the power of holimins, but you don’t have to wait until late afternoon (or very early morning) to celebrate a holimin, nor is it necessary to indulge in psychoactive drugs to enjoy them (although it helps).

drunk-holidays

Any minute of any day can be a holimin if it is significant to you, and you take the time to celebrate it. Of course, it always helps to have someone to celebrate a holimin with, but it’s not completely necessary. Like holidays, holimins tend to lose their meaning, and become depressing, if you try to celebrate them alone, but also like holidays, holimins can bring you closer together and strengthen the bonds between people who celebrate them together. On the other hand, I have discovered that too many holimins, or holimins celebrated at inappropriate times, like during sex for example, can have a negative effect on a relationship, so strive for a good balance in your holimin celebrations.

interrupting sex

It doesn’t cost a lot, or take a lot of time or energy to celebrate a holimin. In fact, you should always keep holimin celebrations to less than one minute, this precludes shopping for gifts, costumes, decorations, or even food preparation, which tends to bog down holidays and make them expensive. Holimins, by contrast, require only a simple gesture, a chant, a short song, a little dance or an embrace, just a little something you can do in less than 60 seconds, without prior preparation, to acknowledge the special moment.

life is a special occasion

For us, holimins began with a minute that acquired significance with the advent of digital timepieces. Perhaps you celebrate this one too, 11:11. AM or PM, 11:11 is the only time of day when clocks show us four ones in a row. In the world of digital time, 11:11 has an elegance only matched by 12:00 or 6:30 on clocks with dials and hands. There is a certain Zen about looking at a digital clock at 11:11, a time when all things are equal, and all is one.

Art Nude Model Covered With Vines

Now, excuse me while I go celebrate 4:20.

smoking three joints

Ok, now what was I talking about, oh yeah, 11:11

11.11

To celebrate 11:11, we have developed this little tradition: Whichever one of us looks at the clock at 11:11, will pick up the clock and show it to the other one of us. We then turn and look at each other with the expression usually only seen on small children as they gaze at a decorated tree piled high with presents on Christmas morning. We hold our hands up, fists clenched, save for the index finger on each hand, which we hold straight, and pointed skyward. Using our raised forefingers, we then recreate the digital display in flesh and bone, with real digits, while we chant, in unison, “Eleven! Eleven!” as though we were shouting “Happy New Year!”, and then we kiss.

new-years kiss

We found the whole celebration tremendously fun, and it only took a few seconds. It made us smile. It made us laugh, and more than once it evolved into late morning, or late night nookie, but it didn’t happen every day. That is, most of the time 11:11 would just slip by unnoticed, and we wouldn’t celebrate it. So, we decided we needed some more holimins.

WE-NEED-MORE

10:10 seemed like a natural, it’s got a kind of balance about it. It’s binary, which seemed cool. So, building on the success of 11:11, we developed a holimin tradition for 10:10 similar to our 11:11celebration, but instead of holding up only one finger on each hand, we hold up all ten fingers. Then, we give each other two-handed high-fives, chant “Ten! Ten!”, and kiss.

TenTen_by_gaara_kun5656

10:10 became a hit as well. Before long we started celebrating 12:12, 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44 and 5:55, and developed holimin traditions for each of them. As we added more holimins, we started looking for different things we could do to celebrate them. 3:33, took on special meaning for us, because it is half of 666, the number of “The Beast”. We call 3:33 the Half-Beast Holimin, and it became the first holimin with a special holimin song, at it goes like this:

christmas_caroling

(sung to the tune of Wild Thing)

Half-Beast

You left my raft beached

You make Menonite movies

You’re my Half-Beast

half beast

Be sure to go “ner, ner, ner”, or if you are cat lovers like us, go “meow, meow, meow” to cover the guitar chords between words, and do it all with enthusism, and maybe even air-guitar hand gestures. Our Half-Beast celebration quickly became a favorite, and we even celebrated it in public a few times; once, I recall, very quietly, in the library, and another time at The Meadows Cafe in Redway, but we still wanted more.

wanting-more

We added 12:34, then 1:23, 2:34, 3:45 and 4:56, as well as 6:54, 5:43, 4:32, and 3:21, which, of course, involved chanting: “Three!… Two!… One!… Blastoff!”. We developed holimin traditions for all of them. I won’t bore you with the details, but they’re all silly, and fun, just like regular holidays. To top it off, we added 10:01 and 12:21, and dubbed them the palindrome holimins. Looking at the clock became more fun than playing a slot machine. Any time of day, there was a pretty good chance that the clock would “pay-off”, with a holimin.

jackpot 1

The palindrome holimins proved to be the “straw that broke the camels back”. Over time, all of those holimins became burdensome, and stressful on our relationship. Besides that, it became hard to get anything done unless we hid the clock. Eventually, for the sake of our relationship we said “Never again” to holimins, and ceased celebrating them all together, but it wasn’t long before we started missing them.

missing someone

Today, we still have our holimin traditions for all 20 holimins, buy we’ve learned to only celebrate them if they feel appropriate to us at the moment, and we seem to have arrived at a happy balance of holimins in our lives. I hope you will try out holimins for yourself. Experiment with them, see what works for you, and develop your own rich holimin traditions. Happy Holimins!

celebrating holimins


Snip Snip Snip

Snip Snip Snip

snip-snip

Well it’s harvest time in Humboldt County again, and if you listen closely, you can hear the frantic snip snip snip of Fiscars clipping away in almost every house in the county. As is usual in October, we are enjoying some of the most beautiful weather of the year, and probably the last of the nice weather before the rains come with a vengeance. Alas, all many Humboldt County residents will see for the next several weeks is a pair of scissors and a seemingly endless stream of buds and nuggets for them to trim, style and coif.

buds scissors

As far as I can tell, this practice of carefully grooming every single bud was born here in Humboldt County, and it has to be one of the silliest developments in the whole ridiculous history of marijuana prohibition. In the Old World, they process raw cannabis, which grows wild, into hashish. Making cannabis into hash, even hand-rubbed hash, is a much more mechanical process that the careful, concentrated scissor work that has become the norm here in Humboldt County, and completely mechanical hash-making technology has been around for centuries.

hand rubbed hash

Here in the New World, marijuana herb has always been more popular than hash, but in Central and South America, where most of North America’s marijuana came from, historically, marijuana farmers use a much less labor intensive method to bring their product to market. These days people poo-poo the quality of that old brown Colombian weed, but personally I think it was better for all of us than the pricey, pampered, pedigreed weed that Humboldt County is famous for.

brown pot

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, we all smoked cheap, seedy brown pot from South America and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Some of it was better than others, but it all got us high, and we all had plenty of it. We shared it with our friends. We passed lit joints to complete strangers, and smoking marijuana spawned a a huge social movement.

smoking-marijuana-cigarettes

We give LSD a lot of credit for the youth revolution of the ’60s, but marijuana, specifically, cheap imported marijuana from Colombia, Panama, and Mexico had a much bigger influence on our culture than LSD ever did, because it was something we shared, and because it was cheap enough that most of us could afford it. Not that LSD wasn’t a bargain too, and not that we didn’t share that as well, but the LSD experience was overwhelming, solitary and completely personal. Marijuana, on the other hand, as a raw herb, required a bit of preparation, smoking became a social activity, and we got high on marijuana together.snoop n santa

Back in those days we used double-wide rolling papers because most of us had never rolled a cigarette before, and it took a while for us to get the hang of it.

reefer rollers

We learned to use a card and an album cover to separate the herb from the seeds, and we picked the stems out manually. South American growers left the work of processing marijuana to the consumer, and I don’t remember anyone complaining about it.

stems and seeds

Cheap marijuana from South America got us to stand in a circle and talk. LSD never did that. There’s something particularly intimate about sharing a joint with half-a-dozen people, and before long, we started blowing each other “shotgun tokes”, which is almost like french kissing, but with smoke instead of tongue.

shotgun toke

In this way, abundant cheap marijuana fostered social cohesion, cultural identity and real communication, all of the precursors necessary to build a social movement. LSD never did that either.

Blotter_LSD_Dumbo

The South American method of marketing marijuana kept the price low, and put the work of processing the herb in the hands of the consumer. We weren’t just taking drugs, we learned new skills, broke down cultural barriers and built a movement that had as much to do with music, art and politics as it did with ingesting drugs.

salvador-dali-weed-isnpired-art

Marijuana was empowering that way, while LSD was simply overpowering.

ingesting blotter acid LSD

Today, marijuana is different. It’s just another consumer commodity. California growers produce sinsemilla from clones, completely eliminating seeds from the equation, and a small army of trimmers supply all of the alienated labor to prepare the herb for smoking.

alienated labor

All that’s left for the consumer to do is take the bud out of the bag, stuff it in a pipe, hold a flame to it and suck. We were all born knowing how to suck.

born_to_suck

We’re not learning anything here, except that if you want marijuana, you better have a lot of money. That really sucks!

money for weed

High prices and alienated labor have ruined marijuana. High marijuana prices make alcohol look more attractive. Anyone can afford to get drunk, so alcohol becomes the poor man’s best friend. That’s not a good thing. I mean, that’s really not a good thing, and we all pay an enormous price for it.

poor-alcoholic-in-depression

Marijuana used to be as cheap as beer, cheap beer. Poor people could afford it, but rich people liked it too, and only poor people knew where to get it. Cheap, plentiful South American marijuana literally saved lives and brought us together as a society, and cheap, plentiful marijuana still has the power to turn our culture around and save the world.

Marijuana-Saves-Lives

I believe that we are in the midst of an epic cultural battle between alcohol consciousness, and cannabis consciousness, and that the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Both capitalism and prohibition emerged out of alcohol consciousness. Overpopulation, environmental destruction and a hierarchical society are the hallmarks of alcohol consciousness. Most people, I fear, do not realize that all of civilization was triggered by the invention of beer, because, alas, most people don’t read my blog, but those of you who do, know this already. Yes, every aspect of our sick culture, including capitalism, prohibition, and the police state, has been shaped by 10,000 years of alcoholism.

drunken history

Marijuana culture, on the other hand, is much more ancient, and is not marked by overpopulation and environmental destruction, but by love, understanding and respect for all living things. It sounds corny as hell, but it’s true.

i smoke weed

Marijuana can save the world, but that will never happen as long as marijuana remains enslaved by capitalism, greed and prohibition.

negative effects of marijuana

Marijuana doesn’t need to be dolled up like a whore, without a leaf of dignity, and packed into a see-thru ziplock bag, for people to want it. In fact, everyone wants marijuana, whether they know it or not, and marijuana wants to grow wild and free. It likes to move in to disturbed patches of soil, and once established, it comes back year after year. Only the police state keeps it from taking over, and who needs that?

marijuana wild and free

There’s nothing wrong with seedy, shaggy pot. I don’t mind picking the seeds out of my smoke. It may seem like a chore, but seeds offer the promise of more marijuana to come.

shaggy

Buds full of seeds means more marijuana everywhere, and plenty of good seedy, shaggy green buds for everyone, free for the taking, like blackberries. That’s what marijuana should be. Free medicine, free herb, free stems, free seeds, free roots if you want ‘em, all together, and altogether free. That’s the fair market price for marijuana, and that’s the fair market price for love.

pot love shirt

Think about that as you snip, snip, snip away at those seedless sinsemilla buds you put so much time, energy and money into. Pimpin’ your ladies ain’t makin’ the world a better place. Quit dressing your pot like a whore and set it free.

sticky buds

Start yourself a patch, and let it take care of itself. Give it some water now and then, and you’ll enjoy plenty of good sweet smoke year after year, and have plenty to share with your friends. Keep an old album cover around, and get a shoebox for the seeds. Now put down those scissors and let’s party!

lets party


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