Category Archives: Manilla

Make the Connection

the connection

By now you should realize that the 5th Sunday of the month means you should turn your radio on first thing in the morning for a stimulating, thought-provoking, in-depth discussion of the issues that define our times. If you are not already hip to The Living Earth Connection, and you have an IQ just slightly higher than the average garden slug, you owe it to yourself to listen to one of the most interesting hours of radio programming you are likely to hear anywhere at any time.

living earth connection

The Living Earth Connection airs on the fifth Sunday of the month, in those occasional months that have five Sundays, at 9:30 AM on KMUD, Redwood Community Radio. That’s THIS Sunday, March 29 at 9:30 AM Pacific Time. My partner, Amy Gustin, hosts the show. She does an enormous amount of research for her show. She usually reads 20 to 25 books in preparation for each show, and this one is no exception.

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For this upcoming edition of The Living Earth Connection, Amy examines the dynamic relationship between agricultural development and biodiversity. In 2014, the Living Planet Report cited a 52% decline in global biodiversity since 1970. In a discussion that encompasses biology, ecology, and island bio-geography, Amy reveals that the key to our collapsing ecosystems lies in the habitat requirements of certain “keystone species.”

keystone species sea otters

These “keystone species” tend to be relatively small populations of relatively large carnivores. Although few in number, as individuals, these “keystone species” require an enormous “home range,” and much of the biodiversity in their ecosystem depends, in one way or another, on their presence. Developing land for agriculture punches holes in the habitat that these animals need to survive. When development crowds out the “keystone species,” most of the natural biodiversity in the area disappears as well.

keystone species biomass

This is a show about natural science. I know you all like science when you get to watch them put a nuclear powered car on Mars, or when you think it means we understand how the universe works.

biodiversity cities

Are you still interested in science when it tells you that agricultural development is causing mass extinction on a global scale?

biodiversity basics

Does biodiversity matter?

biodiversity loss

Why?

Biodiversity laid off

That’s the topic. Please tune in.

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Advice for Adventurous Ears

ear to bell

It’s been a very busy week of radio work for me, so I don’t have much of an essay for you, but I strongly encourage you to listen to my latest radio show featuring a really great band from Arcata called Medicine Baul.

This will be the official debut of my new music-themed public affairs radio show called The Adventurous Ear.   The show will highlight music of exceptional originality, and focus primarily on musicians in our local area and region.  The Adventurous Ear will air on KMUD on Thursday, March 26 at 5pm, and on the fourth Thursday of every other month, alternating in that time-slot with my other public affairs show, which I co-produce with my partner Amy Gustin, called Wildlife Matters.

wildlife matters radio show-kmud

You may recall that I wrote this review of Medicine Baul’s performance at Jambalaya last year.  If you haven’t heard Medicine Baul before, you’ll get a chance to hear their music and listen to them talk about how and why they make it.  Every Medicine Baul performance sounds different because the band composes their music on the spot at each venue.  I recorded their performance at Synapsis in Eureka, CA on Dec. 13 2014, and interviewed them after their performance at Siren’s Song on the previous Nov. 3.

medicine baul 9c

Besides creating amazing music, I found the members of Medicine Baul I talked to,  Willoughby Arevalo, Ishan Vernallis, Vinny DeVaney, and Laura Corsiglia, all to be articulate, interesting and thoughtful people.  From talking to them, it is clear that they each bring a highly evolved sense of intent and purpose to their work, but they don’t compete with each other for control.  Instead, they value each other and honor the moment in a spontaneous collaborative effort.  As a result, the music is bigger than all of them, and encompasses the audience as well.  To fully appreciate their music, you have to be there to share it with them as they create it.

medicine baul 7c

Still, I think you’ll enjoy this episode of The Adventurous Ear.  You’ll hear a range of sounds from Medicine Baul’s 75+ minute set, interspersed with snippets of interview.  In one half-hour show, I offer listeners a pretty good introduction to the band and their approach to music.  I hope you’ll tune in.

medicine baul drummer4


Garberville’s Visionary Artist Ron Machado

visionary artist The-Witness-By-Adam-Scott-MIller

Surrounded by lush forests in rugged mountainous terrain, in the southern quarter of Humboldt County, lies the sad little town of Garberville, CA.

Garberville welcome to buy

Infamous as a global drug trafficking hub, Garberville has become Mecca for drug dealers, and drug addicts alike who flock here in droves to pursue their lifelong ambition to make money and get high. The huge sums of money associated with the illegal drug trade, draws other unsavory characters to this little burg as well.

Unsavory-Characters

Real-estate agents, bankers, and greedy businessmen eager to hitch their wagon to the prohibition gravy train, line Garberville’s main drag offering overpriced mediocrity served with heartless indifference. In recent years, Garbervile’s pathos has become even more famous than its pot, and with good reason. After all, you can grow good pot anywhere, but watching the stagnating black-market economy turn this self-selecting community of callous, greedy, small-minded people into a cauldron of seething resentment, open hostility, and violence evokes that special blend of pity and disgust like no place I’ve ever been before.

Tragic Pathos

Rising like a lotus from this cesspool, one artist dares to defy the vortex of darkness with his singular creative vision.

lotus

Ron Machado challenges this small town’s image of itself with assemblages of found objects which spring defiantly from the oppressive landscape of commercial exploitation. Like Banksy, the famous, albeit anonymous London street artist, Machado eschews the rarified atmosphere of galleries and museums, preferring instead to transform the stifling homogeneity and crass utility of the small Northern California town he has called home for more than two decades.

ron machado3

Machado’s artworks often appear overnight, in unexpected, but very public places, usually in Garberville’s business district, where he carefully reveals the madness concealed within the mundane. Machado’s angular, assertive and unapologetic artworks occupy parking spaces, take over vacant lots, and sometimes even appear in the middle of major thoroughfares. They look almost functional, but overflow with playful frivolity, physical non-sequiters and mind-bending juxtaposition.

ron machado crop

Like many artists of exceptional vision, Ron Machado is mocked, misunderstood, and unappreciated in his hometown, where he is more often described as a homeless, mentally-ill, pain-in-the-ass, than as an artist. Local townspeople have repeatedly removed and destroyed Machado’s artworks, and this past week, an unknown assailant attacked Ron Machado physically.

assault

The assailant sprayed Ron’s face, and his belongings with flammable liquid, and attempted to set both on fire. Fortunately Ron escaped serious injury, but the ensuing blaze engulfed Ron’s belongings, filling Garberville with the acrid stench of burning plastic for most of the afternoon.

burning tent

While Ron has been arrested numerous times, and is well known to police for making public art, the arsonist who attempted to murder Ron remains at large, blending into the community, who appear to be protecting his identity. Undaunted, Ron has returned to his work, and continues to create art in Garberville with the reckless passion of a true visionary.

ron machado2 bright crop

I encourage all art enthusiasts to make a trip to Garberville to see Machado’s latest work. To view Machado’s work before local townspeople dismantle it, it pays to arrive early in the morning. It is hard to know where a Machado original will pop up next, but in a town mostly devoid of interesting art, Machado’s installations stand out conspicuously against the dull backdrop of repressive commercialism.

capitalism boring

Pack a lunch, because the restaurants in Garberville mostly suck, and don’t bother shopping, because the prices are ridiculous, but Machado’s creations make the trip worth while. While you’re up this way, be sure to visit Eureka, one of America’s great small art towns, only 65 miles or so to the North. With lots of public art, many fine galleries, and a vibrant local art scene, not to mention better restaurants and lower prices, Eureka is a great place to spend the rest of the day, and your money, after a Machado morning in Garberville.

Eureka_artsalive-tile

Arts Alive, held on the first Saturday of every month in Eureka

 


Wildlife Matters #5 Debuts Today, Thursday, Feb 26 @5pm PST

Sea otters

Today, Thursday, February 26 at 5pm, KMUD Redwood Community Radio will air the latest installment of Wildlife Matters.  On this month’s show Amy Gustin and I will talk about Sea Otters, and the crucial role they play in maintaining healthy coastal ecosystems.

sea otter hurray

We’ll hear from sea otter biologist Dr. Jane Watson

dr jane watson

…and noted ecologist Dr. James Estes.

dr james estes

They talk about sea otters’ peculiar adaptations which allow them to flourish in the chilly waters of the North Pacific.  they’ll teach us about “trophic cascades,” a fancy word to describe the consequences of eating habits on ecosystems, which explains how sea otters can turn a barren sea floor inhabited by nothing but sea urchins, into a lush kelp forest teeming with biodiversity.

sea otter eats urchins

Wildlife Matters airs on the fourth Thursday of the month on KMUD, and is available to all Pacifica Affiliates through audioport.org.  In the future, wildlife Matters will alternate the fourth Thursday at 5pm time-slot with my other new radio show called The Adventurous Ear.

ear to bell

Next month, The Adventurous Ear, a radio show highlighting music of exceptional originality, will bring you the music of Arcata based improvisational ensemble Medicine Baul.  I hope you’ll tune in today at 5pm for Wildlife Matters, and March 26 at 5pm for some wild music on The Adventurous Ear.  Just remember the fourth Thursday at 5pm as the time for something wild on KMUD Redwood Community Radio, or listen online at http://www.kmud.org

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Sour Diesel

sour_diesel_pump crop

I’m the kind of guy who’s happy to have weed, and I’m happy to have whatever kind of weed I happen to have.

weed befrore and after

I like weed, but there are plenty of things I’d rather do than pursue weed, so I don’t try a lot of the popular new strains. Only recently did I have the opportunity to sample the strain, or by now, whole class of strains called “Sour Diesel.”

sour-diesel super silver-horz

Sour Diesel enjoys much popularity with commercial marijuana cultivators, and has become a staple in the industry.

staples

I can understand why people grow it: It’s heavy, hashy, and it gets you real high, but who wants pot that smells like diesel fuel? Sour Diesel reminds me of working in a garage, and smells like a greasy truck engine, or an environmental disaster. Does anyone really like that smell? How did we make pot smell so awful?

smell bad

I thought they called it “diesel” because of its suitability to that kind of off-the-grid, indoor grow scene, dependent as they are on big, diesel fuel guzzling, generators. I had no idea that the pot itself stank like diesel-fuel, and if I didn’t know better, I would have assumed the bad smell was the result of exhaust fumes in the grow room. Not so. The “Cali Sour Diesel” I tried was grown organically, outdoors in the fresh clean country air. Still, it smelled like a New York City bus station. Why?

Bus_Station

Pot can smell like so many different things. Pot can smell like pine trees, or blueberries, or bubblegum, or pineapple, or even fresh baked cookies. Why do we grow so much pot that smells like diesel fuel? People around here grow a ton of it, or more accurately, many tons of it, and an accurate scale may well be the key to its success.

accurate scale

What Sour Diesel lacks in bouquet, it makes up for in mass. For some reason, the greasy-truck-engine-smell makes pot weigh more. Why do people care more about how much pot weighs than about how nice it smells? More pointedly: What does this tell you about the marijuana industry when so many people in it obviously care more about quantity than quality?

quality-vs-quantity

Remember Sour Diesel the next time someone tries to sell you this bullshit about how the marijuana industry is developing luxury niche markets for the true cannabis connoisseur.

cannabis connoisseur

The marijuana industry doesn’t care if pot smells like a truck stop men’s room, so long as they can put more of it on the scale. That’s because the marijuana industry knows that, thanks to prohibition, marijuana consumers generally have very little choice in what they smoke.

we-have-no-choice-but-to-carry-on

If you know someone who deals herb, whatever herb they deal is the herb you’re going to smoke. If you don’t know someone who deals herb, you have to pay money to see a doctor, and then go to a dispensary where you may have more choices, but you’ll pay more than if you knew somebody. Unless you grow your own, you pay through the nose for herb, and you pretty much have to settle for what you can get, even if it smells like it’s been stuck in traffic for hours.

stuck in traffic

The marijuana industry still depends on an artificial shortage, created and perpetuated by expensive government oppression, intimidation and violence. The products they sell still reflect this paradigm. Overpriced, bred for weight, not for flavor, grown according to economic principles, not ecological principles, and marketed for maximum profit, rather than maximum benefit. No wonder it smells like diesel fuel. If you wanted to make marijuana smell any uglier, you’d have to frack it.

Frack-cartoon

What’s next, pot that smells like money? Obviously it already smells like that to too many people.

smelling money


Chemdawg?

ChemDawg

In the Ganjier’s circular this week I noticed they were having a “sale” on cannabis seeds. Notably, they had “one box left” of “Chemdawg Special Reserve” from Aficionado Seed Company selling for $450 for 10 marijuana seeds. Is that a sale price? $42 each seems like a lot of money for a pot seed, and especially for something called “Chemdawg.” Even in a tiny wax-sealed glass bottle, nestled in a decorative cotton-lined box, “Chemdawg” seems like a pretty low-brow name for a high-end luxury product.

seed bottle

I can’t imagine anyone shelling out fifty bucks for a bottle of Chemdawg Single-Malt Scotch, or a horse named “Chemdawg” winning the Kentucky Derby, or letting the valet park your new Rolls Royce Chemdawg at the country club. I really don’t understand modern marketing, but I have to wonder if the marijuana industry’s propensity for dumb, low-brow strain-names undermines their efforts to market their product as a high-end luxury brand.

chemDawg-280x280

Neither approach seems appropriate for marijuana, if you ask me. I mean, we’re talking about marijuana here, Mary Jane, the girl next-door, easy to grow, safe to use, everybody’s best friend, marijuana. Calling her “Chemdawg” makes it sound like she joined a gang, got some tattoos, tacky clothes and oversize gold jewelry. That’s not the marijuana I love.

thug girl

Despite my preferences, there’s still that wide gulf between even the most impressive Hip-Hop “bling” and the refined tastes and sensibilities of a true “aficionado,” and “chemdog,” as a word at least, clearly missed the boat. “Chemdawg” remains firmly planted on the plebeian side of the divide, along with it’s “homeys” Green Crack, Cheesel, and Purple Panty Dropper. As if mainstream culture weren’t repulsive enough, this overlay of embarrassingly stupid, thug-culture nomenclature really doesn’t make marijuana more attractive in my eye.

gang violence

We live in a time of cultural collapse. Sophistication amounts to little more than pretentious bullshit, and mainstream American culture could hardly be any more embarrassingly stupid or thuggish. Our culture is falling apart, like a crack-head, scarred, gaunt, hollow-eyed and shaking. It still looks dangerous, but it no longer looks strong or vital. Nobody trusts it, you don’t want it dating your daughter, and you sure as hell don’t want to smoke any of it.

Dog-CrackHead1

That’s the culture we live in, but we shouldn’t sully good wholesome herb with it. Thug-culture is the language of the Drug War. It’s time to end the Drug War. It’s time to stop giving your marijuana thug names. If you have to name your marijuana, give it a nice name. Does anyone remember William’s Wonder? Doesn’t that sound like a seed you could give your mother? She’d grow that William’s Wonder right next to her Cherokee Purple tomatoes and her Country Gentleman corn.

williams wonder

William’s Wonder is a GREAT strain of marijuana, some of the best pot I’ve ever smoked. Neville used to sell it in his Amsterdam Seed Catalog. Has pot really gotten better than that? Have the stupid names helped? I don’t think so. I smoke just as much pot. I get just as high. What has changed? The price, the stupid name, and the seeds.

pot seed heart

I sure miss cheap seedy pot.

seedy bud

I won’t miss the stupid names, or the hokey thug-culture aesthetic, or the pretentious bullshit marketing campaigns and the greedy dope yuppies behind them, but I sure do miss cheap bags of seedy marijuana. I’m not knocking modern marijuana genetics, but marijuana wants to have seeds. We should make marijuana happy, because happy marijuana will make people happier. This year, grow seedy marijuana for a change. Not to make money, but just to make the world a better place, and make it William’s Wonder.

grow seedy pot FTW


An Unexpected Debut

UnexpectedArrival

Today, Thursday, Jan. 22 at 5pm KMUD, Redwood Community Radio will debut a brand new radio show that I produced.  The show is airing today because the hard disc crash that took my computer out of commission, also took out the newest episode of Wildlife Matters, the program scheduled for that time, that my partner Amy Gustin and I produce together.  Wildlife Matters will be back next month, on the fourth Thursday in February at 5:00pm.

wildlife matters

Instead, KMUD will air the first episode of The Adventurous Ear, a show that highlights music of exceptional originality, and profiles the artists who create it.  This debut episode features the music of Willoughby, performing The Sex Life of Mushrooms live at Siren’s Song Tavern in Eureka.

magicmushrooms

The Sex Life of Mushrooms is a musical, mycological excursion into the private lives of our fungal friends.  Willoughby uses many homemade and circuit-bent instruments to create his music, which he records onto cassettes with a 4-track tape recorder.  He then mixes these tracks live, while speaking into a specially wired reishi mushroom.

reishi

Willoughby’s performance blew me away the night I heard him perform, and The Sex Life of Mushrooms is exactly the kind of outside-the-box originality I hope to bring to KMUD’s listeners with this new series.  I had hoped to hype this show a bit more before it aired, but I hope you will tune in today, Jan. 22 at 5:00pm on KMUD.

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If you live outside of the KMUD listening area, or just want to hear the show right now, here’s a link to an mp3 vesion of the show:

http://www.mediafire.com/listen/1vjasa1k04witl9/Adventurous_Ear_1_Willoughby.mp3


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