Introducing a Revolutionary New Beverage: Beer Free
So, I quit drinking beer last Spring, and I made it through the entire year without my usual case or two of IPA every month. Don’t worry, I’m not on a 12 step sobriety program, or any such weirdness. My girlfriend switched to a gluten-free diet, and very persistently nagged me to give it a try. Since she cooks for me, the food part was easy, but the beer. That was the sticking point.
She suggested I switch to wine or brandy. I gave them both a try. Sure, they both have plenty of alcohol, but neither has that clean, refreshing bite of a nice cold beer. Wine and brandy both seem kind of bourgeois to me, so, I found them both less than satisfying, and I tended to drink more of them to drown the feelings of self-loathing that came along with betraying my working-class sensibilities.
I tried hard cider. I like hard cider, on occasion, but the tartness of hard cider always reminds me of Jolly Ranchers, Smarties, or Pixie Stix, candy that I only ate because someone dropped them in my trick-or-treat bag at Halloween. I have some fond memories of Halloween, not that many really, compared to all of my fond beer memories, but a few. I don’t necessarily want to relive my Halloween memories every evening, especially with a taste that reminds me of people who were to cheap to spring for chocolate. Does anyone make an alcoholic beverage out of fermented candy corn? Not that I want to drink it, but can you think of anything better to do with candy corn?
Finally, I discovered a new beverage that satisfies. It’s crisp, clean and refreshing, like a mountain stream.
It tastes great, and it’s even less filling than lite beer. In fact this new beverage tastes remarkably similar to lite beer, yet has 0 calories. Count ’em! …0… That’s nothin’!
I am so confident that this new beverage will take America by storm, that I have invested in a new company to market it. This beverage has such universal appeal that I believe everyone, I mean everyone should try it. We call this new beverage Beer Free
Contains no alcohol, so it’s safe for children
Contains no beer, hence the name
Has no calories, so it won’t make you fat
Has no gluten, so your girlfriend will stop nagging you about the gluten.
Is produced without pesticides or preservatives, and made from the finest natural ingredient on Earth
Beer Free suits your active modern lifestyle
you can drink it all day long, and drive home without having to worry about pesky cops and their breathalyzer tests
you can have one with breakfast without drawing disapproving looks from teetotalers
you can drink it at work without fear that it might jeopardize your career
you can use it to wash down other drugs, without worrying about dangerous synergistic effects
…And nothing… nothing on Earth.. soothes the throat after a major bong blast better, or quenches chronic cotton-mouth faster than water…er… I mean Beer Free!
Growing Marijuana is A Labor of Love in Humboldt County
Well Spring is almost here, which means that all over Humboldt County, marijuana farmers are incredibly busy preparing to grow even more marijuana than they did last year. Even as you read this piece, most of them are hard at work building new greenhouses, clearing more forest land, putting in new water tanks and digging gigantic holes all over the countryside.
This process involves hundreds of thousands of man-hours of backbreaking labor and requires millions of dollars in capital investment.
This capital comes almost entirely from the sale of last year’s record setting marijuana harvest. Since most of last year’s marijuana harvest has not sold yet, this investment cuts deeply into the grower’s disposable income. Few feel the pinch however, as they will have little time or energy to do anything else for a few months, but prepare for this year’s grow.
Why do they do it? So they don’t have to get a job, of course. Who wants to work for a living when you can grow marijuana, right? You’d think, but you’d be wrong. In Humboldt County, growing marijuana is a labor of love, crazy love.
Soon thousands of tractor trailers full of potting soil will clog our roads as they make their way into the hills to fill the millions of holes these growers have so diligently dug.
Every year, Humboldt County’s garden supply stores comb the nation for another sparsely populated and poorly guarded county that they can steal. They then dig up the entire county in the dead of night, pack it into bags labeled “Potting Soil” and smuggle it back to Humboldt County where they quickly sell it off on a strictly cash basis to Humboldt County marijuana farmers.
Somewhere in Wyoming, or perhaps North Dakota, one morning soon, the citizens of this unfortunate county will step off their front porch on their way to work, only to fall several feet, smack into the bedrock below. They will look up to see their home delicately balanced on jacks and cinder blocks, and realize that their entire lawn, and the soil which once supported the foundation of their homes, has been stolen overnight while they slept.
For them, it will already be too late. Their county has already been sold, distributed, and secreted away behind locked gates, where it will remain, protected by a constitutionally guaranteed right of privacy. Besides, few of them could positively identify the soil from under their own homes, especially now that it has been thoroughly sifted and blended with a myriad of exotic amendments.
If you visit any of Humboldt County’s garden supply stores, you will find an amazing array of colorfully packaged, and even more colorfully named, fertilizers and soil amendments ranging from liquified fish guts from Alaska’s salmon canneries to ancient fossilized bat guano from caves deep within the jungles of Peru. Most Humboldt County garden shops also offer their own brands of fertilizers that they make on site, mostly from composted US currency.
Many of these fertilizers and soil amendments feature cheeky pin-up girls on the labels. This feature, along with the fact that these products sell for more per pound than fresh organic strawberries in January, indicate that these products are intended for use on marijuana plants. Only female marijuana plants produce marijuana, and marijuana growers often refer to their plants as “their ladies”.
You’ll often hear marijuana farmers say things like: “My ladies are lookin’ fine.” or “I take care of my ladies, and my ladies take care of me.” or “I need to to get home and hoe my ladies.” This makes them sound more like pimps than farmers, and greatly contributes to the general classiness of Humboldt County.
Can you imagine other kinds of farmers talking this way about their crops? Picture a dairy farmer saying “My ladies give me the sweetest cream.” or a broccoli farmer saying “This heat is gonna make my ladies bolt.” or a cabbage farmer saying “My ladies are full of horn-worms.” Creepy, huh?
All of this talk about their “ladies” belies the fact that most marijuana farmers are single and live alone. Growing marijuana in a remote, sparsely populated rural area like Humboldt County is a very lonely and isolating profession that tends to attract social misfits and people with self-alienating personalities.
The more lonely and isolated the marijuana farmer becomes, the more they tend to talk to, get naked around, and masturbate in front of, their “ladies”, often while looking at the pictures on boxes of fertilizer. This kind of “intimacy” with “their ladies”, coupled with an otherwise isolated existence builds a special kind of relationship between the cultivator and the cultivated that most other farmers, or sane people would not understand.
Soon, the marijuana farmer no longer grows marijuana to make money, and instead, makes money to grow marijuana. For these people, nothing is too good for “their ladies”, and they cannot have enough of them. They work harder, and spend more money to pamper “their ladies” than any sane farmer. This is the real reason why Humboldt County marijuana growers produce the best marijuana in the world, and more of it than any place else on Earth.
Over the years, because of their extreme devotion and isolation, many Humboldt County marijuana growers have gone totally bat-shit crazy, and fallen in love with “their ladies” in this way. This is why they work so hard, and spend so much money on, “their ladies”. Every year, more of them go “over the edge”, and every year this “crazy love” impacts our forest habitat more intensely.
Personally, I enjoy smoking marijuana, and strongly believe it should be legalized, so that sane farmers, with tractors, and flat land to till, can grow it economically.
I also know that marijuana provides relief for millions of sick people who should have unfettered access to it, at the lowest price possible, but I also care about this community.
That’s why I feel that something must be done to stop Humboldt County’s marijuana farmers before it’s too late. It has become clear to me, that nothing short of intervention, can save these poor souls, and our natural environment from this serious mental disorder.
Officers from the DEA, the Humboldt County SWAT Team, the Sheriff’s Drug Enforcement Unit and Animal Welfare Division conducted a raid on an indoor grow operation in a high-rise apartment complex in Eureka today resulting in multiple fatalities. While details remain sketchy, neighbors report hearing sustained gunfire and a large explosion from within the building, and seeing one dead body on the sidewalk outside.
After the raid, ambulance crews removed numerous bodies from the building, including those of several uniformed law-enforcement officers, but at this point, the total body count remains unclear. Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do has obtained exclusive video footage of the raid recorded on the building’s closed circuit TV surveillance system. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!!!
Listening to Anna Hamilton’s most recent Rant n’ Rave show on KMUD (Friday, Feb. 1, 7:00pm) reminded me of talking to my Grandmother. I love my Grandmother, God rest her soul. She was a great cook. She was full of love for her family and friends, of which she had many, but she made no secret of her bigoted, racist views, especially when she drank, which was continuously. My Grandmother’s views were extremely common among white people of her generation, and all of her friends, so far as I could tell, echoed her sentiments.
These racist views were extremely common among white people, even well educated white people, before the Civil Rights Movement, but most people would find them offensive and embarrassing today. My Grandmother very much resented the Civil Rights Movement for the changes it brought to her world, and although this movement changed people’s attitudes on a broad cultural level, as a individual, my Grandmother took her bigoted, racist attitudes to the grave.
My Grandmother, a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia particularly resented the changes that the Civil Rights Movement brought to the Philadelphia Mummers Parade. The Mummers Parade, held every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, is not unlike Mardi-Gras in New Orleans, except with less nudity, probably because it is very cold in Philadelphia in January.
The Mummers Parade features extravagant floats,
string bands in elaborate feathered, sequined and mirrored headdresses,
and brigades of clowns in brightly colored costumes carrying specially decorated, multi-tiered parasols.
People all over Philadelphia work all year on these costumes and floats to prepare for this one day of wild, drunken revelry that turns the streets of Philadelphia into a massive street party.
One major difference between Mardi-Gras and The Mummers Parade, is that Philadelphia’s Mummers are almost exclusively white, and traditionally, they would all wear black face makeup for the parade.
You can imagine how offensive Philadelphia’s Black Community found this. Thanks to the Civil Rights Movement, Philadelphia’s Mummers can no longer wear black face paint.
Many older Mummers, and white residents of Philadelphia, including my Grandmother, deeply resented the ban on black face paint in the Mummers Parade. For the first few years of the ban, people on floats refused to wave, clowns refused to dance, and string bands would play only Taps whenever the parade passed through a predominantly black neighborhood. For the Mummers, black face paint was not about racism, it was about tradition, but the ban on black face paint starkly revealed that racism was also a cherished tradition in Philadelphia.
According to my Grandmother, Caucasians were better than Black people, Hispanics and Native Americans because of civilization. White people deserved the privilege they enjoyed, not because of any genetic superiority, but because white people were more civilized than Blacks, Hispanics or Native Americans. She explained this to me many times as a child.
According to my Grandmother, Black people, Hispanics, and Native Americans all came from savage, brutal, backwards and uncivilized cultures. These people were just learning to behave in a civilized manner, and they still had a long way to go before they could be considered the equal of Whites. All of the racial violence, oppression and discrimination that non-white people faced was justified, in her eyes, because civilized people needed to beat the savagery out of them, so that they would learn their place in society. In other words, my Grandmother justified institutionalized racism on the same grounds that she justified beating her own kids.
As outrageous as this sounds today, these attitudes were extremely common 50 or 60 years ago. When Anna read the definition of “Civilization” from her 1947 dictionary, I could easily hear my Grandmother’s voice and attitudes channeled through it.
I don’t believe that Anna harbors the same kind of racist sentiment that my Grandmother did, far from it. I know that Anna is a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement and I know she believes in equal rights for everyone, but her attitudes and beliefs sound as dated and embarrassing to me today, as my Grandmother’s did in the 1970s.
Anna’s blindness to her own cultural prejudices about civilization allowed her to read that stunningly racist, and xenophobic definition of civilization without the slightest hint of self-consciousness, not unlike a Philadelphia Mummer strutting around in black face to the cheers of white onlookers lining the streets. The problem with the definition of civilization that Anna read, was that it defined civilization by who it excluded.
According to the definition she read, civilization excludes savages, brutes, uneducated, unsophisticated, rude and unruly people, implying that only good, noble, sophisticated and well educated people could be counted among the ranks of the civilized. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Civilization is chock full of savages, brutes and rude unruly people. In fact, civilization produces them in greater numbers than any other culture in the history of humanity.
Here in California, Native Americans were deemed “savages”, and it was legal for civilized people to kill them, just a few generations ago. Elsewhere, civilized people kidnapped millions of Africans, to keep as slaves,
and just a few short years before the publication of Anna’s dictionary, civilized people exterminated seven million Jews, Blacks, Gays, Gypsies etc. in an extremely sophisticated national operation aimed at cleansing civilization of “mongrel races” and “degenerates”.
Even though we now recognize the American holocaust, the European Holocaust, the brutal history of slavery in the US, as well as thousands of other examples of institutionalized violence, as horrible atrocities, we still perceive civilization as superior to the cultures that those, oh so civilized people, so passionately and violently sought to exterminate. We somehow convince ourselves that all of these crimes against humanity were carried out by “bad apples” like Hitler, but that the core of civilization remains a paragon of high ideals, and represents the highest expression of our shared humanity.
Civilized people are like the mafia. They wear nice suits, keep their fingernails manicured, and behave like gentlemen, until they have business to attend to. Then, they become cold-blooded killers.
Here in Humboldt County, civilization looks more like the mafia than in many places, with so many greedy dope yuppies cynically using their civil and property rights to conceal their criminal activity from law enforcement and their obscene incomes from the IRS. They’ve gotten used to making a living from the violence of the drug war, and enjoy their privileged status, as white people with money, within civilization. Consequently, they remain unwilling to face the reality of their situation.
So let’s define civilization by what it is, rather than by what it calls its victims. Civilization is a way of life characterized by cities, hierarchy, division of labor, inequality, violence and environmental degradation (and writing incidentally). It’s high time that we stop pretending that civilization is something to celebrate and face the reality that civilization is an affront to indigenous cultures everywhere.
How “Quantitative Easing” Makes Life More Difficult
Over the last few years, the Federal Reserve has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy in an effort to spur growth, through a program they call “Quantitative Easing”. Many feared that this would lead to spiraling inflation, but outside of food and energy, prices have not risen much in the last few years. How was the Fed able to pump so much liquidity into the economy without triggering Zimbabwe-like hyper-inflation, or even Carter era-like double-digit inflation?
Usually, when a country pumps a lot of liquidity into the economy, they put that money into the hands of the people, through government jobs programs, relief aid, etc. Poor and working people spend that money almost immediately. When you suddenly have more money trying to buy the same amount of available stuff, prices rise, fueling inflation, but that’s not what happened here.
While the Federal government did spend some tax dollars on stimulus projects, while extending unemployment benefits and expanding Food Stamps, that only amounted to a drop in the bucket compared to the liquidity the Fed has injected through quantitative easing. Instead of hiring tens of thousands of people for public works projects, tens of thousands of State and Federal workers lost their good paying government jobs in this recession. Benefits for the elderly and disabled shrank rather than grew, and schools felt the pinch as well.
Money earmarked for the housing crisis mostly went to the banks who made the bad loans, not the poor people who lost their homes. While the Fed continued to print money like Safeway circulars, the vast majority of us haven’t seen any of it. Since we still don’t have any money, we can’t go out and buy stuff. Since we can’t buy stuff, stuff sits on shelves. When stuff sits on shelves, retailers can’t raise prices, and inflation remains low, but where did all the money go?
According to Harper’s Index, about 90% of all new income generated since the recession started, went to the wealthiest 10% of the population. Among them, the top one-tenth of 1% took the lion’s share. The Fed carefully funneled all of this new liquidity into the pockets of the super-rich. That money went to bank reserves, bank executives, bank shareholders, financial executives and the like. Those people already have lots of money and extravagant lifestyles, so the rest of the economy hardly noticed the trillions of dollars the Fed handed them, because mostly, it got squirreled away in oversea tax havens.
Now, however, we begin to see that money coming back into the market, to buy up foreclosed and distressed homes. Home prices, you’ll doubtless recall, surged to astronomical heights riding a nationwide housing bubble, fueled by lender’s eagerness to loan extraordinary amounts of money against extremely ordinary homes. Somehow, this hyper-inflation in the housing market seemed like a good thing at the time.
Eventually, however, ordinary people failed to earn the extraordinary amounts of income that the lenders assured them they would, leading to the complete collapse of the housing market, bank failures, and a massive taxpayer bailout…of the banks, while millions of families lost their homes through foreclosure.
For the last few years, a huge glut of overpriced homes, that rich people wouldn’t be caught dead in, but working people cannot afford, has depressed the real-estate market. The invisible hand of the free market should cause the hyper-inflated prices of these ugly suburban homes to drop until ugly suburban families can afford to buy them, but thanks to the Fed, and their “quantitative easing”, the rich now have enough money to buy all of these homes, even though they still sell for twice their pre-bubble price. The rich can then rent these ugly suburban homes to ugly suburban families by the month or year, making them a sound investment once again
Do you see how that worked? First the banks created hyper-inflation in the housing market. When that went bust, the banks held a gun to the government’s head and demanded a taxpayer bailout, and we all lost our homes and our jobs, which sent the economy into a tailspin. Then the Fed printed a lot of cash and gave it to the rich, so that they could afford to buy up all of our homes and rent them back to us. That way, instead of creating new hyper-inflation with all of that new liquidity, the Fed just preserved the leftover hyper-inflation from the housing bubble, thus relieving us, as working people, from the burden of home ownership, and the accumulation of all of that pesky equity. Wasn’t that clever?
Lo and behold, now it looks like the economy is recovering. Isn’t that great? Most of us are still worse off than we were 10 years ago, but for the 1%, The Great Recession represents a major victory in their efforts to enslave the American people. Why do you think they call it “The Great Recession”, while the rest of us call it “The New Normal”? You can bet that as soon as you get used to “The New Normal”, the economy will tank again, and they’ll expect you to make even more sacrifices to prop it up. There’s a look at “Quantitative Easing” that’s On The Money.