Category Archives: blogging

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.


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.


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.


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.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: John Christianson’s Biofeedback Spa

spa packages-biofeedback

Tucked away behind the hospital at the North end of Garberville, you’ll find a county facility unlike any other. Disguised as the Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County Library, this expensive county facility actually functions as a private spa for just one county employee, John Christianson.

john christianson

If you visit the building on one of the four days a week that it is open, you’ll see that on the inside, it looks, superficially, like a library, albeit the tiniest, most pathetic excuse for a public library you’ve ever seen. It has a few stacks of book, mostly for children, a rack of magazines and newspapers, and a small selection of old movies and albums. These things contribute to the appearance of a library, without actually providing much value to the community, with the exception of providing a dry, temperature controlled environment, and restroom facilities for people who otherwise lack access to such things.

gville library

The library also has two computer terminals that access the internet, that people may use, for up to 30 minutes, if they are willing to wait their turn, and one computer terminal that only accesses the the county library’s database, from which library patrons can request or renew books, Again, these modest amenities create the visual illusion of a library, without providing the services the community really needs.


If you spend any time at all there, however, you will hear about the service this community desperately needs. All day long, people come into this alleged library, carrying a laptop, tablet, or other device and ask: “Do you have wifi?” or more assumptively, “Do I need a password to use the wifi?”

wifi password

to which, our alleged librarian responds, “No, I’m afraid we don’t have wifi here.” He then recommends they try one of the two cafes in town which do offer wifi, for customers only, along with loud background music, blaring TV sets, limited table space, and an overpriced selection of food and beverages they may, or may not wish to purchase.

loud cafe

These days free public internet access is the single most important service that modern libraries offer. While you may, or may not be able to find the information you need in a book in the county’s collection, you will probably have to wait at least a week or two to have that book delivered to Garberville from the main library in Eureka, or from one of the larger branches up north.

book mobile

On the other hand, you will almost certainly find what you need, almost instantly, online, and with wifi, you can easily download the information to your own device. The internet has become the single most important information service in the world, for communication, research, and participation in civic life. For public libraries to remain relevant in the 21st century they must provide a way for patrons to access the internet with their own devices.

wifi smart phone

In our small rural community, we desperately need free public wifi. At least 700 customers in Southern Humboldt still depend on a dial-up connection for access to the internet. Even more of us live off-the-grid, without a telephone or electricity. We will never have internet access at home, but the State expects us to pay our state sales tax on line. We cannot access many public documents or participate in public processes without access to the internet.  As citizens, we can hardly participate in public debate or even communicate with each other anymore, without access to the internet. Yet, as far as I know, there is no free public wifi, anywhere, within a 40 mile radius of Garberville. Talk about “The Digital Divide.” We live it here in SoHum.


About 80% of the people who visit the building marked “Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County Library” ask about wifi in one form or another, and after John Christianson sends them away, confused and disappointed, they rarely return. I’ve asked this question more persistently than most, and through my inquiries, I have discovered that the Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County Library is not a library at all, but instead, serves an entirely different purpose altogether.

moes pet shop

I began to realize that this “bait and switch” had occurred when John Christianson told me emphatically that he did not want wifi at the library at all. Until then, I had assumed that our lack of access was due to budget constraints, or some other complication. I could not imagine why a librarian would oppose wifi at the public library. Then, one day, John asked me, to repair a sophisticated computerized device, the likes of which I had never seen before. I was able to get the machine to work again, but it provided the clue that allowed me to unravel his devious plot.

repair electron device

Most people assume that public libraries exist primarily to provide people with the information they need to understand their world, and participate in society. That’s why, as taxpayers, we fund them. We expect libraries to provide internet access, and most people assume that free wifi is part of the package.

wifi library

If you asked our local Board of Supervisors for a quarter-of-a-million dollars a year in taxpayer money for an air conditioned room and staff to house and guard a collection of Dr. Seuss books, they might look at you funny, but if you call it a public library, that conjures another image entirely, and apparently that’s enough to keep the money flowing in, allowing our alleged librarian, John Christianson, free reign to use the building for his own purposes.

imaginary library

John Christianson believes strongly in the powers of biofeedback. Do you remember biofeedback? That’s the idea that you can learn to consciously control things like your heart rate and blood pressure by using technology designed to provide you with feedback about these biological functions that would not otherwise impose themselves on you conscious mind. The imaginary library in Garberville provides John with a quiet space, relatively free from interruptions, where he can use his biofeedback machines to focus his energy on the mastery of his own bodily functions. The device John asked me to repair, was one of his biofeedback machines.

biofeedback machine

I fixed one of these for John Christianson

If you visit our alleged library, you will notice that John often has wires clipped to his earlobes, or perhaps an unusual elastic strap around his midsection, depending on which biofeedback machine he is hooked-up to at the time. You may also notice small, not very decorative, mobiles dangling from the ceiling, or small symbols mounted above the windows. These tiny devices provide visual biofeedback that help John retrain his eyes to improve his eyesight.


In the Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County Library, John has created an ideal environment for him to practice his biofeedback techniques. By keeping the library relatively uncluttered with books, John has room to stretch his eyes, and by not providing needed services, John has more time to focus on himself, and his biological functioning.

focus on yourself

I can understand why John appreciates the quietude and the tranquility, not to mention the salary and creature comforts that this taxpayer subsidized facility provides him, but I’m sure he gets tired of answering the constant stream of people who inquire about wifi. Perhaps he could just put a sign on the door that said “No Public Wifi. Don’t Even Ask,” but it would probably be easier to to remove the sign that says “Public Library” and replace it with a sign reading “John Christianson’s Biofeedback Spa.”

gville library jc bs

Of course, instead of replacing the sign, we could replace John Christianson with someone more interested in providing us with the information services this community needs to compete in the global economy and participate in civic life, than in learning to control his blood pressure with his mind.


Postscript.  This morning, 2nd District Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell told me that she was working with John Christianson to get wifi at the Garberville Branch of the Humboldt County Library.   I’ll believe it when I see it.

seeing is believing

A Busy Weekend

too busy

This will be a busy weekend for my partner Amy and I.

john and amy

Starting Saturday we will perform on electric didgeridoo and Theremin at the 39th Annual Summer Arts and Music festival at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.


We are scheduled to perform starting at 9pm in the Belly-Dance tent.


No, we won’t belly-dance, but you are welcome to. If you haven’t heard us play before, this is a great opportunity. The belly-dance tent has a nice sound system, and we’ll rock the place like nothing you’ve ever heard before.


I hope to see your bouncing belly-button there.

belly button

Just a few hours later, we’ll be at KMUD’s studios in Redway for Amy’s radio show: The Living Earth Connection.

living earth connection

Amy will read a great monograph by visionary author Daniel Quinn called The Book of the Damned.

book of the damned

The Book of the Damned will change the way you think about culture, civilization and the future. Please listen.

please listen

Then, early Monday morning, I’ll be back at KMUD to engineer Monday Morning Magazine from 7-9AM with host Pat Higgins, after which, I’ll have a new essay to post.

writing gif

That’s Entertainment

thats entertainment big

Awhile ago, I agreed to help a friend fix his washing machine. I’ve never fixed a washing machine before, but I was happy to lend a hand. As it turns out, a washing machine is a rather complicated mechanical contraption, and we found ourselves stumped by an inaccessible fastener. As we stood there scratching our heads, trying to solve this problem, my friend had a brilliant idea. “Hey,” he said, “Let’s go smoke a joint and watch a video.”

smoke a joint

That sounded like a great idea to me. As we filled the air with great frothy clouds of sweet cannabis smoke, my friend input the make and model of his washing machine into the search engine at Youtube, looking for a “how-to” video that would show us how to replace the agitator dogs on his Kenmore. That’s how I discovered this:

I don’t blame you for not watching it all the way through, but **SPOILER ALERT** there is no surprise ending. That video is a one-camera, 29 minute close-up of an open washing machine, going through one complete cycle. That’s it. No music. No special effects. No narration. I can’t even imagine what you would say to narrate a video like that: “Will you look at that! Someone has turned the knob on that ’86 Kenmore and water has begun spraying into the agitator drum. Get ready for a great show because it looks like someone is going to do some laundry.”


I would have never imagined that doing laundry could become a spectator sport. I mean, I would rather watch someone do laundry, than do laundry myself, but I’d rather not watch, or do, laundry, unless I had to, because I find it dull and tedious. Until the moment I saw that video, I thought that most people agreed with me about that. Apparently, I have no idea what constitutes entertainment these days, because Youtube tells me that that video has been watched more than 60,000 times.  62,290 views to be precise, at the time of this post.

thanks for 62000 views

I don’t know whether 60,000 people watched this video once, or 10,000 people watched it six times each.  Either way, I find this statistic very disturbing.


What kind of drugs do you have to take to stare at an open washing machine for a half-hour? Where can I get some? I’ll try them, whatever they are, because I just don’t get it.

i dont get it at all

I mean, I’ve seen some stupid TV shows, but this makes Duck Dynasty look like Masterpiece Theater by comparison, and it’s not just this one video. I’ve since discovered that this isn’t even the most popular open washing machine video on Youtube.

(over 190,000 views)

In fact, you can watch open washing machine videos all day, day after day, and never have to see the same washing machine video twice. The Kenmore Washing Machine Youtube Channel has 23 different videos to watch. The SpeedQueen Channel has 54 videos, and the Whirlpool Channel tops them all with 133 different videos of open washing machines, going through their wash and rinse cycle.

whirlpool channel2

Who watches these things? Autistic children? Nostalgic old ladies in nursing homes? Laundry fetishists? Please tell me. What is the appeal?

laundry fetishist

Look, I’m a musician. I’ve been making music for more than 30 years. I’ve made movies and TV shows, and I currently produce three radio shows, not to mention this blog. I pour my life into my work, because I respect my audience, and I believe in the transformative power of art. Meanwhile, people watch this.

That is a nine-hour video of washing machine noise, that has been watched over 360,000 times!  What does that do to people? Is this brain-washing? It can’t be healthy, but this is what people want. What are you going to do? I don’t know about you, but I’m going out to shoot some long videos of paint drying.

The Return of Gulch Much

The other day, I found a business card in my mail box at KMUD.  The card was completely blank, except for one URL in the lower right-hand corner of the card. was all it said.  Of course I knew what it meant.  This card meant that Paul Modic’s classic SoHum rag, the Gulch Mulch has been reborn in cyberspace.


If you remember the Gulch Mulch, you can stroll down memory lane in the archives section, where you’ll find every issue of Mulch Gulch there for your perusal.

gulch mulch back issues

If you are new to SoHum, the Gulch Mulch is a great place to get the back story on all of the weirdness you encounter here.  Either way, I encourage you to check it out, and check back regularly, because Paul is back at it.

paul modic crop

That’s right, SoHum’s original desperate bachelor is back with more tales of sexual frustration, more gossip from the hills, and more humorous anecdotes about life in this Northern California backwater.  Check it out!


Hard Disc Crash

computer airbagSorry folks.  My hard-drive failed last night.  lygsbtd will be back next week.


Some Unfinished Business From 2014

unfinished business

Last year got so hectic towards the end, that I haven’t gotten around to cleaning house here at LYGSBT until now. This week, I’m clearing out all of the images I’ve collected throughout 2014, in the course of creating for you, the finest possible blogging experience.

blog post with no images

From time to time, I find images that I really like, but don’t quite fit blog the post I’m illustrating at the time. By the end of the year, that folder contains a lot of such pictures, and before I back that folder up and delete it from my hard drive, I share them with you, as an excuse for taking a week off of writing. Here goes:

HereGoesSomethingLet’s start with this one:

why denmarkOK sure, people in Denmark are happy, but you’d think they could find shoes that match.

wrong turnDo you think people in Denmark are happier than this charming, obviously American, couple?

wrong wayIf you plan to fly to Denmark, bring a pillow…

utopolis-cinemas-reality-sucks…but flying has its hazards.

DWRECK_WIW_FRANK151.pngSo, you might as well hang around awhile.

end the violenceSorry, I guess that last image was a bit intense.  I didn’t mean to shock you.

safe bikeI guess you can’t be too careful, and it helps to read the signs, or you might find yourself up…

shit creekwithout a paddle…

no…but it could be worse.  You might find yourself here:

weiner cutoffor here:

Dysfunction-Junction-If so, I hope you know where you’re going.

confused..and that you eventually join us here:

hippy traffic jam1

just look out for:

tripping hippie warningbecause he’s probably on:


But maybe you just want to get away from it all, and go somewhere more secluded:

private sign

I saw some amazing Halloween costumes this year:

penis vagina costume

tampon  nunchucks

diaper man

mermaid girl

taco cat

…and a few costumes intended for other holidays:

bloody easter bunny I guess the Easter Bunny has been busy.

fuckem easter..and here’s a modern take on a Christmas favorite:

santaatvspeaking on Christmas, we should always remember the “reason for the season”

franken xmasSo, join us in celebrating.

for lease navidad

Of course, if you are on drugs, every day is a holiday.

dali quote

why dog…but where are the drugs?

vaginas arewell break ’em out!

new-paris-hilton-barbie-dollnow we’re partying!!

panda cat bong

smoking dog

Yes, drugs can be fun, but be careful, or you might start to see some really weird shit. Like this:

picture unrelatedor this:

milk is a natural

or this:

cannibalism-shrink wrapped

or this:

cats have coffee

Take it from me…

ive seen some weird shit

Well… That’s it for 2014.

thanks i guessDid you like it?

free shrugsOh well.   I’ll be back with another post next week.



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