Category Archives: Finance

Democracy is Overrated Take 2

Democracy is Overrated Take 2

dont forget to vote

Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” I’m sure people haven’t gotten any smarter in the last half-century, and neither has democracy. I know some people still think that democracy is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I sure don’t see the evidence of it. Really, what has democracy done for you lately?

best argument

Do you ever remember a time when democracy worked? I sure don’t. Would we be in the mess we’re in if democracy really worked? Face it; elections don’t solve anything. They never have and they never will. Elections didn’t stop sectarian violence in Iraq. Elections didn’t stabilize Afghanistan, and elections didn’t satisfy Egyptian protesters.

Egyptian-protesters

Here in this country, elections didn’t stop the Vietnam war, prevent the invasion of Iraq, or stop the bank bailout. Despite the massive grassroots mobilization that put Obama in the White House, not only does the prison at Guantanamo Bay remain open, but the government now claims the right to kill US citizens anywhere in the world without trial, and the NSA listens to all of our phone calls.

nsa-santa

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be arrested for simple possession of marijuana this year, and Federal agents continue to raid state sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries, despite the fact that over 80% of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana as medicine, and a majority of Americans favor legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

marijuana negative effects

Income inequality continues to grow, along with poverty, homelessness, and prison populations, as the rich help themselves to more and more, while the rest of us fight over what few crumbs they leave behind. Does that sound like democracy is working?

income_inequality

Clearly at the national level, democracy has failed us, but what about at the local level? I sure haven’t seen much evidence of democracy working at the local level either. Whether we’re talking about mayors, city councils, county supervisors, or even the boards of directors of community non-profit organizations, I’ve seen plenty of corruption, cynical political manipulation and pandering to a monied minority at every level of democracy, haven’t you?

Democracy-Two-wolves-and-a-sheep

If you think you know of someplace where democracy seems to be working, I encourage you to get more involved. It won’t take long before you find the disaffected, oppressed and silenced factions, the two-faced hypocrisy, and the clique that operates with impunity, using “democracy” as a fig leaf. I guarantee it.

fig-leaf democracy

Yes, democracy has failed us completely, but we sure don’t let that stop us from spending gobs of money on it. On the contrary, “democracy” has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry. Besides the billions of dollars that get spent directly election campaigns, thousands of “activists” use the obvious failure of democracy to raise more money to help “reform” democracy, and somehow “return the power to the people”, as if the people ever had any power in this democracy.

why nations fail

Despite their best efforts, the environmental crisis only gets worse, economic oppression and injustice continue unabated, violence and warfare escalate while civil-rights and the social safety-net steadily erode. But hey, we still have democracy, and since you have the right to vote, you only have yourself to blame, right?

stupidvoters

Every two or four years, a new crop of candidates promises to make big changes and to “put the people back in charge of government”, but as soon as they get elected, it’s back to business as usual. How long has this been going on? Only 250 years or so. How stupid could we be?hOW sTUPID cAN yOU bE?

Really, why would anyone consent to be governed? Only an idiot would trade real freedom for a meaningless vote, personal autonomy for institutionalized oppression or a place in the natural world for economic servitude to corporate interests. Democracy only looks good when you compare it to tyranny. Compared to freedom, autonomy and equality, democracy is just another scam designed to dupe the stupid and insecure into subservience.

democracy rain

Besides failing its citizens, democracy wastes economic resources as well. The 2012 presidential election cost billions of dollars, much of which got spent on misleading negative campaign ads that nobody wanted to see. Senate and congressional races cost millions of dollars each, and even at the local and state level, many candidates spend over a million dollars to get elected. In 2012 Monsanto spent 47 million dollars to defeat a grassroots California initiative that would require foods made with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as such, outspending the citizens groups that sponsored the initiative 12 to 1.

Money-in politics

Today, grassroots organizations capitalize on people’s disgust with our political system by raising money from ordinary citizens to “take big money out of politics”. They promote publicly funded elections, or even a constitutional amendment to “end corporate personhood”. This kind of nonsense only adds to the high cost of a worthless democracy, and discourages people from taking meaningful action to secure their own freedom and autonomy.

money in politics1

Lots of people have found ways to take this democracy scam to the bank. Besides the billions of dollars in campaign contributions, lots of tax dollars get spent on pointless elections that don’t solve anything. Voting machines, poll workers, election commissioners, ballots, sample ballots, polling places, signs, “I Voted” stickers all cost money. None of them do us any good.

i voted

Polling companies make big money on elections too. Campaigns hire polling companies to see how people respond to their candidate. Companies hire polling companies to see how people respond to their ads, and the media hire more polling companies so they can ignore the issues and instead report on the election as though it were a horse race.

presidential-horse-race

A good polling company can tell you how any election will turn out by making 1,000 phone calls to carefully selected households. With so many polling companies asking the American people what they want or don’t want, why do we need to hold elections at all? Just take a poll. If the poll says Americans want marijuana legalized, then legalize marijuana. If the poll says Americans want genetically modified food labeled, then label the food. If the poll says Americans are disgusted with Congress, disband the Congress. Forget about turnout, likely voters, or “get out the vote” efforts, let the statisticians and supercomputers at the polling companies do something useful for a change.

polling-cartoon

Besides that, the media makes plenty of hay out of elections, with political talk shows, election coverage, and endless hours and column inches of news reporting devoted to political coverage. None of it does any good. To the media, politics is just a sport played by old rich white guys. It’s like golf, except that it’s even more boring and they use money and voters instead of clubs and a ball. They rarely tell us anything useful about the candidate or the issues, but yammer endlessly about the polls and statistics. Just like sports, the media never stops talking about it, and ultimately, none of it really matters.

media money politics

Really, none of it matters; who wins, who loses, what party they’re in or who backs them. The only thing that matters is how much, and how many of us, believe in it. As long as we consent to be governed, and trade our freedom for a ballot, they’ve got us stuck in a game we can’t win.

anarchy-empowerment

Look at Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign. Obama mobilized a massive grassroots movement for democratic change. His campaign built a movement that was orders of magnitude bigger than the Occupy Movement, primarily because it had orders of magnitude more money. That was a huge movement that mobilized an enormous amount of resources. How much difference did it make?

wiretapping-obama

What did we get for our trouble? Obamacare, drone strikes, and wiretaps for all. Economically, that’s a lousy return on our investment. For the cost of that election, we could have ended poverty in America, and for the the amount of effort it took, we could have built enough housing to end homelessness too, but instead, we played politics and nothing got solved, and things went from bad to worse.

bad to worse

How many unified nationwide grassroots movements will it take to make meaningful change through the democratic system at that rate? Dozens? Hundreds? How many unified grassroots movements of the magnitude of Obama’s 2008 campaign would ever happen without the money of the 1% behind it? Not many, I’m afraid, probably none, so face facts, the democratic system is a scam, a hoax and a myth, and an expensive one at that.

safe for hypocracy

I’ve witnessed five decades of lies, violence, idiocy and corruption, and for at least the last 30 years, five presidents, three Republicans and two Democrats have completely sold 99% of us out to the 1%. You’d think by now we’d realize that no matter which party they represent, what they promise, or how they talk on the campaign trail, electing politicians doesn’t solve anything.

vote for nobody

All of the problems that I remember as a child; pollution, poverty, deforestation, overfishing and technological warfare, have only gotten worse, and we have a whole bunch of new problems, like Global Climate Change, homelessness, unaffordable health care, and an uber-class that sucks the life out of everything. That doesn’t sound to me like democracy works. It sure doesn’t feel like democracy works. It might work for somebody, if they can afford to buy themselves a piece of it, but it doesn’t work for me, or anyone I know.

if_voting_changed_anything_theyd_make_it_illegal

I’m not saying that saying that communism or socialism or even monarchy or dictatorship would improve things, I’m saying that the only thing that all 300 million of us can agree on, is that the majority of Americans are idiots.  Democracy is the process whereby we let those idiots run the country.

idiots vote

Yes, democracy amounts to a dictatorship of the dumb, a gulag of the gullible and a republic of the retarded. Forget about the nonsense that it takes an intelligent, informed public for democracy to succeed. Democracy succeeds by turning stupidity into power that only money can wield. It’s time to face the fact that, like communism, democracy seems like a great theory, but it really doesn’t work in reality, either.

democracy doesnt work


Blackberries at the Community Park

 

Blackberries at the Community Park

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I wrote the following Letter to the Editor about my favorite blackberry patch in the Southern Humboldt Community Park. It appeared in this week’s issue of The Independent and The Redwood Times. I’m sure it will not make me any more popular.

not more popular

 

Dear Editor,

letters to the editor

One thing I really love about August in SoHum is blackberries. I don’t mind the thorns. I don’t mind the scratches, or the purple stains on my hands and clothes. I just love the taste of fresh ripe blackberries, and I can’t get enough of them.

blackberry stained fingers

I know that Himalayan blackberries are an invasive species around here, but frankly, so am I, so we have that in common. I take inspiration from those thorny, fast-growing vines. I, like the noble blackberry, have taken root here. I can be a sweet and generous friend, but those who cross me, will find me a thorny and resilient adversary.

thorny blackberry vine

As you can imagine, I was not thrilled to see a new sign in front of my favorite blackberry patch announcing the future site of ball fields at the Community Park. I know that a lot of people like baseball and soccer, but sports fans can be a pretty obnoxious bunch. All over this country, sports fans have prevailed on local governments to force taxpayers to subsidize the conversion of prime real estate into grand arenas for the benefit of people who refuse to outgrow their insane obsession with stupid children’s games.

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These sports complexes never turn out to benefit taxpayers. As a result, critical infrastructure, like roads, bridges and sewers, as well as social services for the needy get neglected, so that sports fans have someplace to drink overpriced beer, and a team of overpaid steroid abusers to hurl insults at, while contractors and developers quietly pocket huge sums of public money.

Manager of dollar bills in his hand

You might say of sports “It’s only a game.” but it’s worse than that. It’s a racket. It’s a diversion, and it’s a tool of oppression used by fascist governments everywhere. No, there’s nothing innocent or wholesome about organized sports at any level. Sports are a racket because they funnel public dollars into the pockets of private contractors and developers without providing any real benefit to the community. Sports are a diversion because they shift people’s focus away from real issues, struggles and movements and onto staged competitions of no significance whatsoever, and sports are a tool of fascist oppression because they separate young people by by age and gender and pit them against each other while adult coaches propagandize them and encourage them to control, dominate, and defeat their opponents.

nazi sports propaganda

Wilhelm Reich wrote eloquently about the role of organized sports in developing a fascist society.

wilhelm-reich

Reich felt strongly, that to defeat global fascism, it was crucial to eliminate organized sports, because organized sports sow the seeds of military fascism.

The_Mass_Psychology_of_Fascism

I encourage everyone to read Reich’s book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism before they decide to support sports programs based on fond memories of their youth, or the infectiously cute image of boys in their Little League uniforms.

kid in baseball uniform

I know, from listening to Community Park board member Dennis Huber’s KMUD radio show, Monday Morning Magazine, that Dennis has fond memories of his days as a baseball player, and that he’s very keen to see the blackberry bushes at the park removed and replaced with a synthetic, AstroTurf covered ball field.

AstroTurf causes more sports injuries than grass

AstroTurf causes more sports injuries than grass

For every child who grows up with fond memories of organized sports, there is another child who has been traumatized, seriously injured or simply suffered through the ordeal, when they would have rather done something else. By artificially inflating the importance of sports, we encourage competition, gender bias and hierarchy in young people, and discourage creativity, cooperation and imaginative play.

imaginative play

I think it’s important to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. Even Dennis Huber gives lip-service to this idea when he talks about building a sustainable culture, and says, “let it begin here” at the end of each of his radio shows. Well, in order to build a sustainable culture, we have to actually change the way we do things. Isn’t it time this community stopped perpetuating fascist indoctrination through organized sports, and instead showed respect for the natural bounty, beauty and community benefit that wild blackberries provide.

wild blackberry festival

Hundreds of local community members derive sustenance and succor from the delicious blackberries that grow wild at the Community Park. These blackberries also feed a variety of birds, from wild turkeys, to sparrows, finches and wrens, and provide habitat and food for mammals like deer, bears and bush bunnies. Young people love to pick blackberries, and picking blackberries teaches them a lot about the natural world and their relationship to it.

picking blackberries 1-horz

Organized sports, on the other hand, drain community resources, line the pockets of contractors and developers, and instill fascist attitudes and ideas in young people that, once established, become even harder to uproot than blackberry vines. Organized sports serve the interests of fascism and promote a culture of domination, oppression and corruption, which judging by the actions of the Community Park Board, remains alive and well here in So Hum.

hitler youth hitler


Kittens!

 

Kittens!

kittens

Last week, after a long day in town, heading towards Redway from Dean Creek, I spotted this little guy sitting right next to the edge of that busy thoroughfare.

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I pulled over at the nearest turnout and got out. He came running towards me as fast as his little legs could carry him, meowing the whole time. I scooped him up and brought him back to the truck. Before I could get back on the road, two more kittens popped their heads up out of the weeds next to the road.

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They came close to me, but wouldn’t let me get close enough to pick them up, so I went back to the truck, and my partner Amy decided to try to lure the kitties to her. She succeeded, and returned to the truck with two more little squirming furballs.

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Just what we need, three kittens! We live in a tiny one-room place, and we already have two full-grown cats. There is no way we could adopt these little guys, but we couldn’t just leave them there by the side of the road to get run over.

blood-on-road-

First we went to KMUD to put an ad on the classified ads. Maybe they were lost, but whoever let three kittens get that close to a busy road probably couldn’t be trusted to take care of them. We asked our friend, and rescuer of many local felines, Jackie Pantalao if she had any ideas. She’s already taking care of seven cats, more than a handful, but she gave us the number of someone in Fortuna who might help.

miranda-cats

It began to sink in that we were going to have to make an unplanned trip to the northern part of the county. We have no shelters in SoHum, and since it was already about 7:00PM when we found them, everyplace we might try to call had already closed. So, we took the kittens home, gave them some food and water, put them in a pet carrier, and did our best to console our cats, especially the queen of the household, Pipsqueak, who was livid about these young intruders. The kittens proceeded to get cat food and water all over their fur, which is why they look so greasy. Suddenly, it dawned on us as to where we should take these three little meowsers…

lightbulb-idea

We would take them to the Companion Animal Foundation in Sunnybrae. We always like to shop at the Companion Animal Foundation thrift store whenever we are in Arcata, primarily because they have a room in the back where you can visit the cats and kittens they have rescued. The room has a rocking chair that’s safe for long-tailed cats, lots of cat toys, and an aquarium, that’s well defended against feline intruders. Because lots of people play with the kittens in that room, the kittens get to be pretty well socialized, and people have plenty of opportunity to fall in love with them.

Companion_Animal_Foundation.gif

We love cats, and it’s always nice to get a little kitty love when we have to be away from our own cats for the day. We enjoy playing with the kittens in the kitten room, and petting Trinity, the store’s beautiful three-legged cat. Kim, who runs the place, also loves cats, and is very careful about who she adopts them to. She makes sure they all get their shots, and has them spayed or neutered. The Companion Animal Foundation has found homes for over eleven-hundred cats and kittens so far.

kim at companion animal

When we got there, she told us she was full-up with kittens, but when she saw those three little babies, she decided she could find room for them. Hooray for Companion Animal Foundation! Please, if you are thinking of adopting a kitten, DO IT NOW!

cat to school

Go to the Companion Animal Foundation Thrift Store in Sunnybrae, across from Murphy’s Market, in the Sunnybrae Center. Shop in their great thrift store, knowing that all the money you spend goes to rescue poor orphaned kittens like the ones we found along the highway. Spend some time in the kitten adoption room, let them tug at your heart-strings. Those kittens all need homes. They need laps to sit in, someone to open the can for them, and someone to rub up against and purr. You need someone silky soft and cuddly who loves you unconditionally, and enjoys your company. You can save their life, but they will return the favor.

cats eyes

The kittens are all healthy. The first thing that happened to the ones we brought in was that they went to the vet for a check-up. They have kittens in every conceivable color and pattern at the Companion Animal Foundation right now, and I’m sure you will find the purr-fect companion among them.

cat oberfest


10 Great Ideas to Bring More Traffic to Your Blog

10 Great Ideas to Bring More Traffic to Your Blog

blog traffic

When I started this blog, over two years ago now, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand why people wrote blogs, or what made one blog more popular that another, or why anyone reads blogs at all. I never read blogs myself. I have better things to do with my time, and feel terribly sad for those who don’t.

feeling sad

After a couple of years in the blogosphere, however, I have discovered that the key to understanding the blog phenomena, and to blogging successfully lies in understanding one critical fact. That fact is, people are idiots.

full of idiots

Yes, the web is full of suckers, in fact, the web was designed for suckers, and these suckers roam the web looking for something to suck on. If you want them to suck your blog, the first thing you have to do is:

suck

  1. Think like an idiot. If you visit the web’s most popular blogs, you’ll find yourself wondering, “Who would be stupid enough to read this tripe?” The answer is that among today’s, “media savvy” content consumers, you won’t find many with an IQ higher than your average hamster. Intelligent people think for themselves, based on their own experience, and learn from doing things themselves. Consequently, intelligent people have little use for the internet, and spend very little time online.intelligent people

  2. Create the illusion that you are providing useful information. Your blog should look, on first glance, as though it might really supply something useful or insightful. Of course it doesn’t, because if you knew how to do anything, you would have something better to do that write a blog.something better to do

  3. State your opinion. Like the old saying goes: opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and mostly they’re full of shit. Chances are, your stupid opinion falls somewhere on the continuum of idiocy between flaming liberal and lock and load libertarian. So, no matter how pea-brained, ill-considered or moronic your opinion, most idiots will either agree, or disagree with it. This encourages “reader engagement”, and soon your blog will overflow with stupid comments.stupid_comments

  4. Celebrity endorsements. Sure, it would be great if you could convince a major celebrity to endorse your blog, but you probably don’t know any major celebrities, and they will never return your calls because they have better things to do than read your stupid blog. Instead, to increase traffic at your blog, I suggest that you endorse some celebrities For instance, I wholeheartedly endorse Mylee Cyrus’ decision to go braless.cyrus braless

  5. Find a way to inject some T and A into your blog. Sure, sexualized images are exploitative and degrading, besides that, they are cruel, but if it weren’t for exploitative, degrading and cruel uses of technology, we’d all still live in teepees and hunt bears with stone tipped spears. Adding T+A to your blog is as close as you can come to directly injecting your readers with drugs. Sure it’s great if people enjoy your writing, but to keep them coming back, you want them to physically desire your blog.early ass

  6. Ask a provocative question that keeps people hanging until they click on a link. For instance: Is this a picture of Tom Hanks diseased penis? Click here to find out.California sea lion

  7. Write about famous brand name products, like this: McDonald’s to open luxury drive through lane for Lexus owners serving Crystal champagne and Absolut Vodka bloody marys. Not only are brand names like Starbucks, GAP and KFC some of the few words that idiots rarely misspell, brand name companies tend to google themselves a lot.google-yourself-cartoon-snakes

  8. Use lots of photographs. Idiots don’t have much of an attention span. The quickest way to get them to leave your site is to post a whole page of text without a single picture, and the best way to get an idiot to read the copy you write, is to insert an intriguing, but inscrutable photograph into it.inscrutable

  9. Lists. 5 reasons lists work:

    1. Eliminate the need for pesky context

    2. Suit short attention spans

    3. No need to index

    4. Easy to pad out

    5. No need to think in complete sentencesStupid-list-740x280

  10. Offer to help people attract more traffic to their website. Everyone wants more traffic at their website. They don’t care where it comes from, or how it got there. When it comes to web traffic, more is always better. You’ll never know if people actually read your post, but on the web, all that really matters is that they looked at the page. If, after reading a sentence or two, they decide to go looking for something else, that counts as much as someone who read every word, so all you really need is a title that sucks people in, followed by a bunch of blah… blah… blah…BLAH BLAH BLAH

Try these ten tips and see if they don’t dramatically improve the stats on your blog.


Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

Where’s Godzilla When You Really Need Him?

godzilla water

The Professor suggested that I write something about the recent revelations from Tepco about the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. What humor could I possibly find in the worst industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind? How about:

fukushima_nuclear_2-other

What’s the difference between Tepco and Bradley Manning?

Bradley Manning saved innocent civilians by leaking secret information to the press, while Tepco killed innocent civilians by keeping information about the leak secret from the press.

fukushima radioactive seawater 2

Or how about…

What do Tepco and Jorma Kaukonen have in common?

They both produced Hot Tuna.

hot tuna

How many Tepco employees does it take to change a light bulb?

Two, a janitor to hold the bulb up to the socket, and the CEO to screw the whole world around it.

screw up fairy

There’s a start, I guess.

start

When faced with an overwhelming situation like Fukushima, it can help to look on the bright side. For instance…

bright side

A glowing ocean means people can now surf at night.

glowing-waves

Now you can use your Geiger counter to locate nearby sushi restaurants.

geiger counter sushi

Fish enthusiasts will find new mutant species for their marine aquariums

two_mouth_mutant_fish-3

Pacific seafood now comes out of the water pre-cooked

precooked shrimp

See, even though the Fukushima nuclear meltdown has become an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions, it’s not all bad news. In fact, the Fuk Nuke Puke will create tremendous economic opportunities for people who know how to take advantage of them. For example, there’s never been a better time to become a pediatric oncologist. The pay is great, and you’ll be up to your eyeballs in bald six-year-olds in no time.

childhood cancer

You know what they say, “When GE sells you a lemon of a nuclear reactor, make the ocean into radioactive lemonade.”

radioactive lemonade


The Power of the Press

 

The Power of the Press

power of the press 1

Today, I am especially grateful to all of the writers and editors of our local newspapers here in Humboldt County who helped save my most recent gig. First, I want to thank Jennifer Savage who has been covering the music beat for the North Coast Journal while Bob Doran recovers. Not only did Jennifer do a nice write up about my show, she reminded me to send a photograph, which would not have occurred to me if I hadn’t read her column. The Hum, the NCJ’s weekly music feature is the best single source for upcoming music events in our area, and it was great to see my picture prominently displayed there.

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Kevin Hoover gave me a nice bit of ink in his colorful, and colorfully written paper, The Arcata Eye. Humboldt County’s only daily newspaper, the conservative Times Standard printed my entire 800 odd word press release almost verbatim in their Sunday edition, as did their SoHum sister paper, The (weekly) Redwood Times.

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Not to be outdone, my favorite SoHum newspaper, the family owned, left-leaning, free, weekly paper The Independent printed two great stories about my little gig way up there in Eureka, in the weeks preceding the show, and listed it in the calendar section as well. Special thanks to Managing Editor Joe Kirby for going the extra mile.

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Even the Tri-City Weekly, an oft ignored, but ever present collection of classified ads fluffed out with entertainment and human interest features, gave me a mention on their Calendar page. Counting the listing in the Arts Alive section of the North Coast Journal, that was a total of six newspapers, six stories, one picture, and nine listings in our local print media, for one little performance at a record store. The show had also been mentioned on one of KHSU’s most popular music shows, Fogou with Vinny Devaney, as well as on KMUD’s Community Callendar.

vinny devaney

The biggest surprise in media coverage was a great piece by John Olson that appeared on the RadioHum Yahoo Group web site. John not only plugged my didgeridoo gig, but also mentioned the radio show that I host on KMUD on behalf of the Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club called The SHARC Report. Judging by the number of Hams that turned out for my gig, John’s piece clearly made an impact, and all of that coverage really saved the day for me. Besides putting my name and picture in front of thousands of people and luring some of them to come out to hear me play, that press actually saved the gig itself.

saved the gig

To me, as a musician, this little gig at the record store was a pretty big deal. It’s the only gig I have scheduled this month, and Arts Alive actually draws a pretty big crowd in Eureka. I knew that a lot of people would hear me play over the course of the evening. To most downtown business owners, however, Arts Alive is a pretty small part of running their business. Most business owners want to support local artists, and hate to say “no” to anyone who asks to show their work, or play in their establishment.

hate to say no

Bandon, owner of The Works Records in Eureka is especially supportive of local musicians, so when a personal friend of his asked him, just a few days before the Arts Alive event, if his band could also play at his record store on the same night, Bandon said “yes”, thinking that the two of us could split the three hours of Arts Alive.

dont-say-yes

Now you might think that an hour and a half of unaccompanied didgeridoo solos might be more than anyone should have to endure, but I very much wanted to play for the whole evening, knowing that there would be a completely different audience at 8:30 than at 6:30. I have two new CDs, and I wanted to make this event my CD release party for both of them. I intended to play two sets and demonstrate some of my circuit-bent instruments between sets. Like I said, this performance was a pretty big deal for me, and that’s why I pulled out all the stops on the press coverage.

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My experience tells me that August is a good time to send out press releases because the news gets a little thin this time of year, but newspapers still have the same amount of space to fill, so items that might get ignored during busier times of the year, have a better shot at getting ink in August. Sure enough, every single paper I sent a release to, covered the story, and every single paper told its readers that I would be playing from 6:30 to 9:00pm.

clyde watches cubs game

So, when I checked in with Bandon on the day of the gig, I pressed my case. In a calculated assault, I began with a Savage blow, and dropped a copy of The Hum from the NCJ, that included that great picture taken by Traci Bear Thiele, in front of him, and let it sink in for a moment. Then I dropped the clipping from the Arcata Eye on top of it, followed by the piece in the Times Standard, The Independent, The Redwood Times, the second story from The Independent, and the Tri-City Weekly. Finally, I dropped a printout of John Olsen’s story from the HumRadio Yahoo Group, which was quite well written and flattering, Boom!

keep-calm-and-boom-boom-boom-8

Bandon was overwhelmed. All of the clippings said that I would be playing from 6:30-9:00pm, none of them mentioned any other band playing at his venue that night. Bandon apologized for the mixup, called his friend and told them they could play at his store for Arts Alive next month, but their gig for that night was canceled. Success!

success

I got to play two sets, show off my circuit-bent creations and sell my CDs all night, as I had hoped. I had a great time, Bandon seemed happy about it, and the audience dug it too. It just goes to show you that despite the explosion of “new media”, newspapers still have clout, and Ham radio can still save your ass in times of emergency. Let that be a lesson to all of you seeking attention in the modern media landscape. Do not underestimate the power of newspapers to to change the course of history.

1001-battles-that-changed-the-course-of-history


Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

While we’re on the subject of marijuana prohibition:

Rand-Corporation

The Rand Corporation recently published the results of their latest study on the economic effects of legalizing cannabis.  To great fanfare, they predicted that if legalized, the price of pot will fall, while the number of users will rise. This prediction shocked people who were also surprised to learn of the Pope’s religious affiliation, and that bears shit right on the ground in the middle of the woods. Since this kind of speculation seems popular these days, I offer:

Slightly Less Obvious Consequences of Ending Marijuana Prohibition

california bear high

Farmers Markets – sales rise

Grow Shops – sales fall

With legal farmers growing cannabis in local soil fertilized with manure from animals that live on the farm, we’ll finally taste Humboldt County’s Terroir. But, we’ll no longer import enough potting soil every year to build a small island nation off the coast of Petrolia.

island nation

Head Shops – sales rise

Hair Salons – sales fall

With the prices falling and availability increasing, demand for marijuana rises, which means more people will need, pipes, rolling papers, bongs etc., and since pot is so cheap, I’ll also take a couple of those black-light posters, some incense, and a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. On the other hand, stoners hate getting their hair cut. The more pot you smoke, the more averse to haircuts you become. Anthropologists believe this well documented side effect of marijuana use to be at the heart of many tonsorial religious traditions from Rastafarianism to Sikhism. Business booms for makers of tams, turbans, and ponytail-holders, but barbershops take a beating.

dreads round

Grow lights – sales fall

Lava lamps – sales rise

As grow houses close down, makers of HID lamps, ballasts, and reflectors see sales tumble. As more of us discover the pleasures of cheap, plentiful marijuana, sales of lava lamps, plasma spheres and mirrored balls soar.

lava lamp rainbow

Custom Trucks – sales fall

Custom Bicycles – sales rise

As more people get stoned, fewer people want to drive large, loud or fast vehicles and a plethora of unique pedal powered and electric vehicles, conceived in a hashish reverie, and hand built by stoners, take the streets. Others will have to chop a lot of firewood to pay for that new truck. A lift kit only means they’ll have to lift that firewood that much higher. They’ll skip the custom bumper, wheels and headache rack because they might need to take a day-off sometime in the next six years.

custom-aztlan-bicycle

Energy – demand falls

Energy drinks – demand rises

As grow houses become a thing of the past, those electric meters won’t spin nearly as fast, but you can’t get your stoned ass to work without 300mg of caffeine in your system.

more energy

Unemployment – rises

Interest in work – falls

As grow shops, truck dealerships and hair salons lay-off workers and outlaw growers lose their source of income, the ranks of the jobless swell. However, thanks to the 80% drop in the price of marijuana, pot smokers will only have to work half as much to enjoy the same quality of life. Why work harder than you have to?

work

Reggae music – sales rise

Classical music – sales fall

Who am I kidding? No one buys music anymore.

record store closed

Pit bull popularity – falls

Cat popularity – rises

With pot legal, fewer growers need dangerous watch dogs to guard their grow or stash. Stoners, on the other hand, prefer a pet they can relax with, and no one knows how to relax like a cat.

relaxed cat

Costa-Rican real estate – sales fall

Costco – sales rise

Pot growers often used illegal profits to buy real estate in Costa-Rica, Mexico or Hawaii. With those profits gone, tropical real estate markets feel the pinch. But, with the price of an ounce of bud dropping to about $35, pot smokers can afford to buy Oreos by the pallet.

pallet of oreos

Incidents of arrest – fall

Incident of “I’m sorry, what did you just say” – rise

With pot finally legalized, the cops have one less tool with which to fuck people over. And…I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

what was I talking about


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