Category Archives: blogging

Did You Celebrate Earth Day?

Celebrate Earth-Day

Did you celebrate Earth Day last Friday? Me neither, and I don’t blame you a bit for letting it slip by. Earth Day has quickly become our most depressing holiday. A lot of people find Christmas depressing, especially if they spend it alone. Memorial Day is a real bummer, if you lost friends or loved ones in a war, but compared to Earth Day, these quaint celebrations seem naively joyous.

memorial day sad

Even if you think of Christmas as the mythical origin of the Christian tradition of clerical sex abuse, and Memorial Day as a glorification of technological warfare, which I do, the blackness of Earth Day overshadows them all. Earth Day is more like Good Friday, except that there’s no Easter to follow it up. For people who believe in science and technology, democracy and civilization, Earth Day is a day to observe the crucifixion of their savior, in real time. Nobody wants to see that.

Crucifixion-9841-2203

Earth Day didn’t start out as a depressing holiday. When we first established Earth Day, we thought that a day to celebrate the environment would help us re-prioritize our values and change our culture to meet the challenges of the looming crisis. Those were hope-filled times. We were all really high on LSD, and we thought we could do anything if we just celebrated it enough.

hippy on lsd woodstock

Forty years later, we can’t say “We didn’t know.” Today, the truth stares us in the face. We know we’re killing the planet. We know that we’re destabilizing the future, and we know that it’s killing us, but we don’t know how to stop. Forty years ago we had some ideas about how we could apply the brakes, and turn things around, perhaps even before it was too late. Today, we’re out of ideas. Nothing we’ve tried works. We’ve won a few battles, but we’re still losing the war, and losing it faster than ever. A recent survey estimates that we’ve lost half of the Earth’s biodiversity since the first Earth Day.

threats to biodiversity

 

Not only have we failed to stop the environmental destruction, we’ve failed to slow its acceleration. We have failed, as a culture, to meet our most pressing existential threat. Knowing is not enough. Understanding does not help, and the more we know, the more we realize that it’s worse that we feared, and harder to change than we ever imagined. Against the hard truth of the environmental crisis, the myths of our culture unravel like a cheap sweater.

sweater unravels stars

Today, we can look back on the whole history of civilization since the agricultural revolution, and project forward our global environmental impacts. From this perspective, we can see, pretty clearly, I’m afraid, that the costs of civilization far outweigh the benefits. What’s worse, the benefits of civilization lie mostly in the past, while the costs of civilization loom large over our future. After centuries of secular skeptical scientific inquiry and bold technological innovation, the only thing we know for sure is that everything we know about how to live on planet Earth is wrong.

everything you know is wrong

How do you turn that into a holiday? …that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself? Some people still do the Earth Day festivals, but, you know, any excuse for a party. So go ahead, enjoy the music,

earth-day-on-the-national-mall

eat the organic veggie hippie food,

watermellon

shop for fair-trade, creatively recycled handicrafts…

recycled handicraft

…and try not to think about it too much, because, believe me, you don’t want to know.

'Do not look within. Trust me, you don't want to know what's in there.'

We don’t need another depressing holiday to remind us of how we’ve failed as a culture. We need to pick a day to take back our lives from the economic machine that consumes us all, and the environment around us. We need a global Day Off, just to remember what life is all about, and if people like having a Day Off, just to enjoy life, maybe we can stretch it to a week.

take a week off tree


Let’s Dump “Housing First” and Declare a Housing Crisis

housing is a human right

Everyone knows we have a housing crisis in Humboldt County. Landlords love it, and couldn’t care less. Now that the marijuana industry has taken over much of the residential housing in Humboldt County, landlords can, and do, charge a lot of money for anything with a roof. Most of the rental housing is already sub-standard, especially here in SoHum, because most landlords know that it is easier to find new tenants than fix problems that tenants complain about.

cartoon what do you mean you can't bear to call the landlord?

For tenants, it’s a nightmare. Many people pay half, or more, of their monthly income in rent, just to have a roof over their head. The high rent prices in Humboldt County eat working people alive. Business people complain about how hard it is to find good help around here, but it’s damn near impossible for working people to find a place to live, and greedy landlords use that shortage to drain the workforce. Local landlords wreck the workforce because, by the time you’ve been fucked over by a few Humboldt County slumlords, you’ve learned how to live in the woods without water, electricity, heat, a roof over your head, or money in your pocket, for extended periods of time. Once you’ve gotten used to that, why do you need a job, or a home?

save us from slumlord

The housing crisis is real, working people feel it a lot, and it hurts, to landlords, it just feels like a big sloppy, wet, BJ. Business people complain about not finding good help, but they complain even more about people who prefer not to work, or pay rent, hanging around in public shopping districts. We have a whole complex of social problems, which cause an enormous amount of suffering for the people of Humboldt County, all triggered by an acute shortage of affordable housing. That’s what we mean by the words “housing crisis,” and a “housing crisis” is what we have here in Humboldt County.

we want decent housing

For some reason, the Board of Supervisors seem reluctant to declare it. They know that we have all of these problems, and they know that the shortage of affordable housing causes all of these problems. They’ve talked about it a lot, but so far, all they’ve done is hire the consulting firm: Focus Strategies. Focus Strategies have been selling them on the “Housing First” concept. These consultants have advised the county against declaring a housing crisis, and against spending any money on solving the housing crisis, except through their “Housing First” program.

focus strategies

I know that “Housing First” sounds like a great idea, or slogan, or something. I can imagine it on a bumper-sticker, but what does it mean? “Housing First” got a lot of attention as the strategy that Utah used to find housing for all of their homeless people. Utah is a funny place, and most of what made “Housing First” successful in Utah, does not translate well to Humboldt County.

wont work here

In Utah, it’s hard to overestimate the influence of the Mormon Church. Mormons have a strong tradition of compassion, and for helping the poor. Very few places, other than Utah, have such well funded, and well intended churches, and few churches do as much to help people in need, directly, as the Church of Latter Day Saints. Mormons, however, do not tolerate drugs or alcohol. Because of this, unrepentant drug addicts consistently fell through the cracks in Utah, and ended up on the streets, while others got the help they needed from the church.

mormon-temple

This is the crux of the “Housing First” strategy. Under Utah’s “Housing First” plan, the government hired caseworkers to put homeless drug addicts into subsidized housing, so that at least, they would have a room to abuse drugs in, and other people wouldn’t have to see them abuse drugs in public. “Housing First” created a taxpayer subsidized program to put homeless drug addicts into apartments, that did not require people to quit drugs as a condition of receiving help. Once Utah did that, their homeless population disappeared, but only because everyone else got help from the church.

lds love everyone

I kid you not! That is the whole crux of the “Housing First” biscuit. “Housing First” means “Subsidized Housing for Drug Addicts.” It means that landlords will get reliable monthly checks from taxpayers, for letting drug addicts crash in a hovel on their property. “Housing First” gives landlords the option of taking a guaranteed monthly check from the government, rather than renting to working people who might have their hours cut, get laid-off, or have other financial difficulties before their lease expires.

people need homes

“Housing First” does not create any new housing. “Housing First” does nothing to relieve the housing crisis. In fact, “Housing First” will exacerbate the housing crisis by putting subsidized drug addicts, with caseworkers, in direct competition with working families for the, already scarce, available housing.

Low Income Renters Affordable Units

In Utah, thanks to the Church of Latter Day Saints, they have a compassionate community of organized people who want to help. The challenge, for them, was to get around the church’s objection to helping unrepentant alcoholics and drug addicts. That’s not our problem here. Here in Humboldt County, thanks to the black-market marijuana industry, we’re all unrepentant alcoholics and drug addicts, and we don’t give a fuck about each other. The challenge for us is greedy, well organized, land-owners, who control our local government and consistently use that power to suck ever more blood out of over-taxed and over-burdened, working people.

being-poor-3

In Utah, “Housing First” helped a compassionate community overcome its prejudice against drug addicts, which allowed their well-established, common sense approach to homelessness, to succeed more completely. Here in Humboldt County, “Housing First” helps greedy landlords exploit a drug addicted community more effectively, by smothering compassion and common sense beneath a big fluffy pillow labeled “Housing First,” and then creates an expensive bureaucracy that drains county coffers, drives rent prices through the roof, and makes life harder for poor and working families in Humboldt County.

doonesbury gentrification

Don’t ever forget that the people who control our Board of Supervisors, are the very same developers and land-owners who created this housing crisis to begin with. They make their living by screwing over poor and working people, and all they want is more for themselves. If the Board of Supervisors implements “Housing First” in Humboldt County as they plan, the only way you will ever find an affordable place to live is if you quit your job, stop bathing, and make a chronic nuisance of yourself in a public shopping district. “Housing First” is a cynical scam designed to put the taxpayer’s money in landlord’s pockets and sweep the chronically ugly off of the streets, while it drives rent prices up, makes it harder for working people to find a place to live, and insures that more of the people who live and work in Humboldt county, suffer hardship and poverty.

gentrification cat

It’s time to dump “Housing First” and declare a “Housing Crisis.” The Supes should stop wasting the taxpayer’s money on consultants from out of town, and instead, do everything they can to empower local organizations like AHHA, with compassionate, common sense solutions to Humboldt County’s housing crisis. We need housing solutions that work for our community, because, thankfully, Humboldt County is not dominated by do-gooder Mormon teetotalers , and the solution that worked in Utah will never work here.

mormon shot glass

We need a homegrown, grassroots solution to our housing crisis, not some fatally-flawed, cookie-cutter clone. We need more than just housing; we need to find a better way to live. We have a proud tradition of alternative, owner-built housing here in Humboldt County. We should continue, and expand on that tradition of innovation, by making space for people to build human-scale homes for themselves. Everyone needs a place to live, and everyone needs a place to live that they can afford. If developers won’t provide that for the people who live here, then let the people who live here, do it for themselves.

Everyone Needs a Home


A Sad Story of Cruelty and Abuse

sad story

Kevin Hoover, Editor of the Mad River Union, shared a sad story on KHSU this past Thursday. He told us about a homeless Arcatan, who’s name escapes me, who has had a series of dogs, all named “Mr. Nobody.” Horrified observers spotted this person leading a very unhappy Mr. Nobody around the Arcata Plaza. According to Mr. Hoovers account, Mr. Nobody had been outfitted with a large, heavy pack, and the rather small dog struggled visibly, and eventually collapsed under the weight of it.

over-burdened-donkey

Police arrested the man, who has a history of animal abuse in Humboldt County. Apparently none of his dogs have fared much better than his most recent Mr. Nobody. This time, many hope, the man will be forbidden from ever having a dog again. Sad story, right?

hands cuffed

Of course everyone sympathizes with the poor overburdened dog. “How could anyone abuse a poor defenseless animal like that?” you might ask. Some might even suggest that the man be subjected to the same kind of cruelty that he inflicted on the poor dog. They would publicly parade him around the plaza carrying an impossibly heavy load, until he collapses under the weight of it, all the while enduring the jeers of disgusted townspeople. Personally, I suspect the man has already been punished enough.

punished_him_enough

I certainly don’t condone the man’s behavior. No one should ever treat an animal like that, but I’ve seen how we treat homeless people here in Humboldt County, and it’s sickening. How many times has this guy been asked to “move along,” reminding him that he’s not welcome anywhere. How many times have people called him a “bum,” a “scumbag,” a “plazoid” or worse? How many times have the cops harassed him, woken him up, or forcibly evicted him from his camp? How many times has he been cuffed, booked, and locked in a jail cell? If it’s never happened to you, I can assure you that it is a thoroughly humiliating, degrading, and wrenching experience. How many times has he heard himself and his community talked about as objects, in the third person, to be removed, or disposed of, or as a blight to be excised and cauterized?

After yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man, this one in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles, the big issue remains unaddressed: excessive use of overwhelming force in order to subdue, or kill, suspects.

That’s just the abuse that we heap on all homeless people, institutionally, just for trying to survive. We know that all of those things have happened to him, but we can also assume that he learned abusive behavior early, at the hands of a parent, step-parent, older sibling, neighborhood bully or in an institution. Abuse is probably all he knows, and clearly, he knows it well. In one sense, I kind of admire the visual poetry of the image he created. As a work of art, it was brilliant.

brilliant work

I mean, how did he make that pack heavy enough that passersby couldn’t help but notice the dog’s distress, but not so heavy that the dog couldn’t make it to the Plaza without collapsing before being seen. And the dog’s name, Mr. Nobody, how perfect, civilized dehumanization, simple, direct, elegant, that doesn’t happen by accident.

Dehumanization

 

I can only imagine the scene. This guy, pulling on a leash, attached by the neck to the beleaguered, wobbly, overburdened Mr. Nobody. I see him coaxing the animal along, just to see how far he can go. Then, when the poor pooped pooch finally collapses from exhaustion on the sidewalk, he scolds it, calls it lazy, commands it to get up and move along, and physically drags it along the sidewalk by the neck. What a poignant metaphor for our whole economy.

metaphor conceptual

There’s a lot of Mr. and Ms. Nobody out there, aren’t there? How ironic that we condemn the perpetrator of the metaphor, while we struggle beneath the weight of our own workload, with dogged obedience, only to join in the scolding, berating, and persecution of our peers who have already buckled under the weight of their burden. It’s a terrible thing to witness, so terrible, in fact, that even staging a poetic metaphor of it will likely disgust passersby and get you arrested for animal cruelty. Yet we live with the reality of it day after day.

egg on your face

That’s why I love cats. A cat would never put up with that shit.

dog v cat


Call it Marijuana

call it marijuana

It seems our local dope yuppies have tired of the word “marijuana.” They would prefer us to call their product by the more civilized, Latin name, cannabis. They tell us that marijuana is a derogatory term with racist overtones. They want us to think of them as respectable business-people offering a respectable, up-scale luxury product. More importantly, they want us to forget that the only reason anyone would ever think of cannabis as an upscale luxury, is because the US Government spent billions of the taxpayer’s dollars to arrest and incarcerate millions of American citizens in the War on Drugs, to make this common weed, astronomically expensive.

priceofweed.1

When Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom came to SoHum last Spring, to launch his plan to keep marijuana expensive, by employing the maximum number of law enforcement officers imaginable to regulate it, many growers complained about his use of the term “marijuana.” Newsom pointed out that all of the laws against it, call it “marijuana,” so it made sense to use the term “marijuana” in legislation designed to replace those laws. I thought it a ridiculous complaint, but grower after grower took issue with him about it.

complaint dept

What a laugh! The people who now proudly admit that they profited, for decades, from the institutional racism known as the War on Drugs, and today, pay lobbyists to concoct a legalization policy that continues to suck money out of urban, low-income communities, and funnel it into the pockets of cops and white, rural land-owners, want the rest of us to stop using the term “marijuana” because they find it culturally insensitive. They sounded like KKK Clansmen, lobbying for the repeal of the 19th Amendment, demanding that lawmakers refer to the people they hoped to openly own, as African Americans, rather than Negroes, because the term made their property sound more valuable.

Clansmen for tolerance

Prohibition allowed white rural land-owners to keep marijuana as their slave for decades, and racist Drug War policies brought a tremendous flow of money into Humboldt County, largely from poor, urban communities. Now that we have become economically dependent on it, society has finally risen up to demand an end to the injustice of the War on Drugs. The end of slavery brought economic upheaval to the South. Many fought and died in defense of the indefensible, but who would argue today that we should reinstate slavery for its economic benefit?

Rebel Pride

Today’s dope yuppies are just like those old southern plantation owners. They don’t care how cruel, violent and wrong prohibition is. All they care about is their money, their property, and their way of life. They’ll fight to protect all three, even if they wouldn’t lift a finger to end prohibition and couldn’t care less about the rights of oppressed people or racial injustice. They’ll fight for their way of life, even if it destroys our community and stifles the kind of economic diversity that would ease our dependence on prohibition, and help us transition to a post-Drug War economy.

end the drug war.jpg

 

I sympathize with the people who would argue that cannabis deserves respect. I took Jack Herer’s advice on nomenclature to heart when, at the height of the War on Drugs, I co-founded Mass. Cann. The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition. I chose my words carefully when I went door to door, back in 1991, asking people to support a medical cannabis ordinance in Cambridge, MA. I like to play with words, but I take them very seriously.

play-with-words

Today, in the waning years of the War on Drugs, times have changed. It’s time to talk openly and honestly about our relationship with this plant. This plant is a big part of my life, and one word isn’t nearly enough to describe it. Just like the Eskimos, who have something like 50 words for snow, I need many words for weed.

eskimo igloo

I use the word “marijuana” because it’s the familiar name, the common name, and the name everybody knows. Cannabis could be a shirt, a ream of paper, a bottle of machine oil, a sack of pet food or a million other products, but everyone knows that “marijuana” gets you high.

lets-get-high

I like the word “marijuana” precisely because it conjures up the whole ugly history of prohibition. The word “marijuana” reminds us of what we’ve been through. I call it marijuana because I paid prohibition prices for it. I call it marijuana because I’ve been denied jobs because of it, and I call it marijuana because I’ve been to jail because of it.

drug war casualty rachel hoffman

 

Call it “marijuana” so the no one ever forgets that millions of American citizens had their lives turned upside-down, and their futures shattered by a cruel, violent and racist war waged against the American people by the US Government. Call it “marijuana” because it is the common name of a common plant, and there’s nothing upscale about it. Call it “marijuana” because it’s a lovely name for a beautiful plant, and the people who love her have called her that for generations.

pot sounds whack

Marijuana. It just sounds so good. I think I’ll have some right now.

lets go smoke some weed


It’s About the Laundromat

laundromat gvile

I know a few of the business owners in Garberville, and I even consider a couple of them friends, but when they all get together, it can get ugly, and a few of them make our greed-bag dope yuppies look like Mother Theresa by comparison. I’m not a big fan of the black market marijuana industry, but if you buy a bag of weed from one of our local growers, at least it will get you high. On the other hand, if you try washing your clothes at either of our local laundromats here in SoHum, you’ll pay a premium to use the machines, but your clothes will come out of them dirtier and smellier than when they went in.

Laundry left in clothes dryer stinks! Unhappy woman holds nose.

Whether you go to the laundromat in Redway or the one in Garberville, it’s the same story. Those machines will ruin your clothes and charge you for the service. I don’t know where she finds those machines, but I’ve never seen weaker, more anemic agitator action in my life, and they just give up if you try to put more than about five socks in one load. You will find no running water at either facility, so if you get laundry soap on your hands, there’s no place to rinse it off. God help you if you need to use a restroom, and the places couldn’t be uglier.

laundromat gville interior

A friend and I were talking. We both live off-grid, and so we both understand the real cost of conventional luxuries. “My washing machine uses a lot of juice.” he said.

solar panel shed

“You have a washing machine?” I replied.

washing machine aquarium

“Oh yeah,” he said, “I had to get one. It didn’t matter how much it cost or how much electricity and water it uses, I absolutely had to get one.”

get one of those

“Why?” I asked.

why-leaves

“I can’t go into that laundromat. I had to stop. I kept getting into fights.” he told me, adding, “I cannot go into that laundromat, either of them, without getting into a fight. I mean, I’m not a violent guy. I could be totally plastered, at a rowdy bar, and I will have no problems, but if I walk into one of those laundromats, stone cold sober, I swear, within fifteen minutes, I’m ready to kill somebody.”

laundromat fight

I know how he feels. My partner Amy washes most of our clothes at home, by hand, rather than use those machines. Truth be told, we have no place to wash clothes in Southern Humboldt. Instead, we have two facilities offering coin-operated, wardrobe ruining, anger generators. This we all learn, over time. Pamela Van Meter owns both of them. This petite, elderly woman also owns The Paper Mill, the only copy shop and stationary store in town, and the place where I buy pen refills when I need them.

Hand wash

I would describe Ms. Van Meter as a perfect lady. She always dresses nicely. In the summer, she loves to wear white. I distinctly remember her, strolling down the fairway at Summer Arts and Music Festival, all dressed-up in a crisp, spotless white dress, with a lacy white parasol over her head. She looked great. Many times I’ve seen her stepping out of her spotlessly clean white luxury SUV in a spotless white pantsuit. You’d think she knew something about doing laundry.

play dirty stay spotless

She knows something about doing business though. I’m sure those laundromats help her “clean-up” more than they help her customers clean anything. She knows that she’s got us over a barrel, so she lets her attendants catch the shit, while she skims the cream. You can’t help but feel the contempt for the customer when you’re in there.

customer-service-

Even if you arrived at the laundromat in a good mood, by the time you’ve pushed your quarters into the machine, spent an hour or so in the bleak, depressing interior, staring at the cracked plaster walls, and then noticed that big oily stain across the front of your new shirt, the big oily stain that wasn’t there when you put the shirt in the machine, your mood has changed. You could walk into the laundromat as happy as Spongebob Squarepants, but by the time you leave, you feel like Mad Max.

spongebob mad max before after

When a merchant sets up a vibe like that, it’s bound to reverberate through town in various ways. Imagine some tourists, who, after emerging from two weeks of backpacking in the King Range, spend their first hour back in civilization, at one of our laundromats having the clothes they hope to clean, ruined, while they wait. They’re pissed about the big oily stains. They want to wash the laundry soap off of their hands. They need to use the bathroom, and they can’t wait to get the hell out of that place.

cant wait to get out

They’re not happy. If they go to a restaurant after that, they’ve already forgiven about as much as they’re willing to forgive for one day. If the restaurant screws-up their order, there’s going to be hell to pay. It becomes a vicious cycle, as the employees who absorb all of this dissatisfaction, become dissatisfied with their jobs, and the more dissatisfaction people feel, the more hostile they become.

hostile-hare-

I recall remarking to my partner as we drove through Garberville for the very first time, almost 20 years ago now. “This seems like a very sad little town.” I said. I don’t think it’s gotten any happier. Happy people spend more money, but once you’ve been ripped-off, you’re out for revenge. In this way, a few greedy merchants can suck the goodwill right out of a town.

serving the poor

Personally, I think the Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce would do much better to focus on solving these kinds of problems within the business community, rather than scapegoating and harassing the people who live here. The new No Loitering, No Panhandling, No Smoking signs that just went up all over town don’t make the place any classier. If anything, those signs make me want to take up smoking, just so I can lurk menacingly on the sidewalk, in my stained shirt, blowing smoke in people’s faces while I beg them for spare change.

blowing smoke

Keep this in mind. If you have an unpleasant encounter with an obnoxious person in dirty clothes on your next visit to Garberville. Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you; It’s about the laundromat.

out of order


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

Introduction: I read today that the average age of the 30 most popular Christmas songs is 61 (Thanks you Harper’s Index). So I figured, “Hey, if people can listen to the same old Christmas songs they’ve heard a million times, every Christmas, they won’t mind rereading this old Christmas classic that first appeared in Savage Henry #7, The Holiday Issue, way back in 2010. It appeared here at lygsbtd a couple of years ago as well, but in the spirit of holiday tradition, and with apologies to my most dedicated readers, here we go again. Happy Holiday of Choice.

i say happy holidays

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Humboldt

santa smokes joint

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Humboldt County
Not a creature was stirring, not even Sheriff Mike Downey

sheriff downey santa
The herb was all trimmed up and packed into bags
For smokers of taste, who will not smoke swag

bags of weed
Me in bed naked, my wife in her panties
It’s that time of month, so it’s the ones that are ratty

santa pinup
When out at the gate there arose such a racket
I got out of bed and threw on my jacket

christmas fuck this
Put on some pants and picked up my rifle
So they’d know I was serious and not to trifle

santa rifle
I stepped out of the door and into the rain
“To be out in this shit, this guy must be insane”

Flooded_Santa
I thought to myself as I trudged up the path,
“This better be good or he’ll feel my wrath”

santa boxing
What did my dumb struck eyes then behold,
But a bearded old man in a late model Olds

santas oldsmobile
I yelled, “It’s Christmas Eve, are you out of your mind?”
He said, “I’m Jewish, you’re Pagan, why’s this a bad time?

athiest battle scene
My friends all need weed, and I’ve plenty of cash,
At $3,000 a pound, I’ll take your whole stash”

your whole stash
I thought to myself, “Well that’s quite a laugh,
These days I’d a probably sold it for half.”

santa died laughing
He showed me a bag that was packed full of bills
So, I opened the gate and we drove down the hill

santas cash
I made up some coffee, and rolled up a jay
And showed him a few of the buds on the tray

buds on the tray
He said, “This is the stuff that my friends all love.
They say that your stuff is a cut above.

weed is better
They’ll pay what I ask for all I can get.
Did you have a good year? Is it all trimmed up yet?”

santa trimming
“This year I grew more than ever before,
It’s weighed up in bags just behind that door.

piles of pounds
You can inspect it while I count this cash,
Hand me that ashtray, and I’ll knock this ash.”

joint ashtray
We packed all the weed in the trunk of his car.
I said, “You found me out here, you must know where you are.”

you-are-not-lost
“Oh yes, he said, “I know my way around here,
And I’ve many more stops to make, far and near.”

salmon creek dope map
He started the car, and then turned on the lights,
And I heard him say, as he drove out of sight,

rainy night road
“Marijuana to all, and to all a good night.”

free weed for everyone oprah
The End


A Milestone, Not a Millstone

milestone millstone

According to WordPress, this is the 400th post here at lygsbtd. I may not always be funny, but at least I’m persistent. In fact, it’s been so long since this blog was funny that people have begun to take me seriously. I appreciate the attention that my recent guest editorials at LOCO have brought me and my little endeavor here, but I’ve written better posts.

best book ever

Two Sohums comes to mind as a recent example of what I wish I had for you every week, or maybe Drugs and Razors Don’t Mix or perhaps New Cannabis Strains for 2014. I know there’s a really funny book about SoHum buried in here, and I should dig it out, polish it up, and find someone to publish it. Instead, week after week, I keep racking my brains to come up with something new, to keep you coming back for more.

come back for more

Until now. Today, in honor of my 400th post here at lygsbtd, I say, “To hell with my regular readers, I need a week off!” by presenting to you this rerun of a funny post from a while back.

A Summertime Tour of Garberville, CA

garberville welcome

Well it’s summertime in Garberville again, which means it’s hot enough that you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, if you don’t mind a little dog-doo and a few cigarette butts in it. Still, it’s the best deal you are likely to find on breakfast in Garberville, so bring a spatula. Yes summertime is the time of year where tourists flock to SoHum in droves to see the highest priced gasoline in the entire country.

gas prices

Tourists often find our local culture just a little odd, and you can see the puzzlement on their faces as they wander the streets wondering: “Does everyone in this town smoke cigarettes?”, “Why, of all of the dog breeds in the world, does everyone here have a pit bull?”, “How come every single parking space in town is full, but all of the stores are empty?”, “Did all of these people come to Garberville just to stand on the sidewalk and smoke?”

smoker a lot

I wonder these things myself sometimes, but I know that there’s more to Garberville than brand new pickup trucks, second-hand smoke, and ugly, ill-mannered dogs. No, there’s something special about Garberville that you just don’t find everywhere, at least you won’t find it anywhere between Willitts and Eureka. . That is, a bathroom. Since Garberville is the only town with services between Willitts, about a hundred miles South of Garberville, and Eureka, about seventy miles North, damn near everyone going North or South has to stop in Garberville or risk kidney failure.

restroom

Yes, Garberville comes as blessed relief for many road weary travelers, and since every bathroom in Garberville is clearly marked “For Customers Only”, they all feel obligated to spend a dollar or two while they are here, even if they had the good sense to fill-up in Willitts, and know that gas will be at least a few cents cheaper in Eureka.

customers only

But Garberville is so much more than a key chained to a foot and a half long piece of PVC pipe that is teeming with bacteria. While you are here, you might as well see the sights, and experience the historical significance, aesthetic highlights and cultural diversity that makes Garberville so unique.

garberville theatre

First on our tour, close to the center of Garberville, just West of the only stop sign in town, you’ll find the historic Cadillac Wok Chinese Restaurant. The Cadillac Wok has been open for more than fifty years at that same location, and so far as I know, no one has ever eaten there. Perhaps you’ll be the first.

cadillac wok

Just across the street from Cadillac Wok, you’ll see the Garberville Post Office. These have become increasingly scarce in Humboldt County, and who knows how long the one in Garberville will remain open, but most days you can still stand in line behind dreadlocked twentysomethings buying multiple thousand dollar money orders with stacks of ragged bills, just like in the old days.

Uniden Digital Camera

Cut through the back parking lot of the Post Office, and you’ll see what remains of the last full-service gas station in town. Ironically, the old Ed’s Full-Serve was closed down because its restroom failed to meet specifications of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The station closed despite the fact that many disabled Americans really appreciated the service of having someone pump gas for them.

full service gas

Across the street from the old gas station, you’ll see one the the most popular skate boarding spots in Garberville. You can find the shredded kneecap skin of dozens of local youths embedded in the concrete there, just under the retaining wall at the end of the long sloping parking lot belonging to the Sentry grocery store.

road rash

Just North of the skateboarding wall, you will see a windmill, and metal sculpture of a horse, directly beneath the windmill, you will find a barrel full of water that the windmill circulates.

windmill

If you stare into that barrel long enough, you will see golden coy fish swimming in it. They say nothing’s easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Don’t try it, those fish are armed, but they won’t mess with you if you don’t mess with them.

shoot fish

The horse sculpture and windmill stand next to a coffee kiosk called Geddy Up. The interesting thing about Geddy Up is that the floor on the inside of the kiosk is significantly higher than the sidewalk outside. Because of this, when you order coffee there, you find yourself talking directly to the belly button of the attractive young female barista inside, who is always wearing low rise jeans and a halter top. Maybe that’s why it’s called Geddy Up. The belly buttons make good coffee, but that’s mostly beside the point.

barista belly

Just a half a block North of the coffee bellys, you’ll find a man with dark hair, glasses and mustache smoking a cigarette. He’s been there as long as I can remember. He occasionally says “Hi”, and he’s always smoking.

smoking man

Just downwind from the smoking man, you’ll find Garberville’s newest eatery: The Healthy Choice, a great place to grab a salad or smoothy while you enjoy all of that second-hand smoke.

second hand smoke

A little way North of the smoking man, you will come to The Hemp Connection. Here you’ll find the latest hemp fashions, smoking accessories, and the latest issue of High Times magazine. You’ll also find another smoking man, 4:20 Dave. Somehow, I find his smoke much less offensive.

hemp-connection

Continuing North on Redwood Drive, you’ll pass the North Valley Bank. This bank is significant because every dog in Garberville relieves itself on this stretch of sidewalk. The bank has posted little doggie doo bags, and signs encouraging people to clean up after their dog, but mostly the signs distract pedestrians who read the clever signs, and then step right into a steaming pile.

dog sign

Across the street from the steaming pile, you will see the Town Clock. Beneath the clock, you will find The Town Clock Square. Town Clock Square contains a shop where you can get a hoodie that says “Humboldt” on it, another shop to buy smoking accessories, and a place where you can get a haircut while you shop for a gun.

gun and barber

North of town Clock Square, past the Garberville Theatre, you’ll come to The Branding Iron Saloon, which features Lotto drawings every five minutes and a pole where local women practice their pole dancing skills. The Branding Iron Saloon is a place for serious drinkers, but the pole is strictly for amateurs.

amateur pole dancing

Beyond the Branding Iron Saloon, at the far North end of town, you will find the only patch of shade in all of Garberville, in a controversial patch of greenery known as the Demulling Memorial Grove. Because the Demulling Memorial Grove is the only green and shady place in town, people tend to congregate there. Because people tend to congregate there, many people want it shut down.

demulling veterans park

Just South of town Clock Square, you’re back at gas station alley. Whether you choose Shell, Chevron, or Union 76, you can rest assured that you are getting the most expensive gasoline that you’ll find anywhere in America.

high gas prices

I hope you enjoy your visit to Garberville, and come again soon.


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