Category Archives: SoHum

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

kmud-logo


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.

kmud-logo

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


That’s Not What Cannabis Says To Me

listen to marijuana

A lot of people have encouraged me to write about the new Humboldt dope-yuppy  lobbying group, California Cannabis Voice Humboldt, or CCVH, and their plan to short-circuit Humboldt County’s medical marijuana ordinance process, by sponsoring a medical marijuana ordinance initiative. I don’t know what these people expect me to say about this, but I appreciate the encouragement. I probably would have written about CCVH anyway, after reading the article about them in the North Coast Journal a couple of weeks ago. That pissed me off, but right off the bat, I don’t like the name: California Cannabis Voice.

ccv

Sure, you live in California, or at least you grow pot here, and you grow cannabis, but you DO NOT speak for cannabis. Cannabis does not want CCVH’s constituents to make any more money. Marijuana wants to be free. Marijuana wants to have thousands of seeds, and marijuana wants to grow everywhere.

weed everywhere

Marijuana wants to be the poor man’s best friend, not some dope-yuppy’s slave. CCVH is made up of drug-dealers and their lawyers, working together to keep marijuana under their control, so that they can continue to make money from it. Their name should reflect that.

whats in a name

I can understand why they didn’t go with California Dope-Yuppy Voice Humboldt, or Whiny Spoiled Brat Drug Dealer Voice Humboldt, but calling this group California Cannabis Voice, is like calling the American Cattleman’s Beef Association the National Brotherhood of Cows. That ain’t right.

that aint right

So change the name. Call it a “growers association” or a “cultivators, processors and distributors consortium” or even “Shiftless Greed-bags for Cannabis Control.” You could probably get some buy-in from law-enforcement with a name like that.

cops riot

I hate it when sleazy drug-dealers wrap themselves in beautiful marijuana. It’s kind of like watching corrupt politicians wrap themselves in the American flag to sell us war crimes and atrocities, except that marijuana really is a lot more beautiful than the American flag, which makes the present name, California Cannabis Voice, all the more offensive.

palin fascism

Like I said before, the article I read in the NCJ pissed me off. Actually, it was the third paragraph. Here it is, from Thadeus Greenson’s cover story, as it appeared in the Dec. 11 edition of the North Coast Journal:

ncj revolution

“You thought the end of timber was bad?” asks Luke Bruner, CCVH’s co-founder and treasurer, “Well if we lose cannabis, all we have left is meth.”

meth crystals

That tells me everything I need to know about CCVH. Think about those words.

think about it

Personally, the collapse of the timber industry didn’t hurt me a bit. I miss the forest though, and the biodiversity. God I miss that. If we could turn back the clock, and you can bet that we’re all going to wish that we could turn back the clock on this one, we’d have hired a lot fewer loggers to begin with, and left a lot more trees standing, doncha think?

Tree Pile - These People Turned Log Piling Into An Art Form

I don’t mean to be insensitive, but I understand. People lost their jobs. That sucks. I grew up in Akron, Ohio.  I’ve seen what the collapse of an industry does to a community. I know about “shrinkage.” I know what it is like to be laid-off, permanently. It has happened to me. It sucks. I know. Join the club! This economy sucks! I wrote a book about it. You should read it.

otm cover look inside

You know what? Losing a job is not the end of the world, and it’s not all bad. In fact, there’s a whole lot about the marijuana industry, and I mean a whole lot, that none of us will miss. The air got better in Akron, after the tire industry moved overseas, the trees haven’t stopped growing in Humboldt County, and even though it’s almost legal, it’s still great to live in the forest and grow your own herb. If you don’t have to worry about selling it, getting ripped-off, or someone killing you to get it, so much the better.

girl smoking pot

“All we have left is meth” That should tell you what kind of low-life bottom-feeding dead-ender Luke Bruner is. Really Luke, is that all you have to offer the world? Or is that the only way you can imagine that a man of your education, experience and bent could enjoy an upper-middle-class level of consumption? Either way Luke, it don’t look good.

dont look good

Humboldt County used to be known as the place with more artists per capita than any county in California. Eureka remains one of America’s great small art towns. Artists all do different things, and look for ways to be unique. This leads to cultural diversity, which translates into economic diversity.

proximity diversity

Dope yuppies all do the same thing. They are a mono-crop, mono-brow, mono-culture that stifles creativity, and smothers diversity. Even most of the people in the marijuana industry would be better off without it.

monobrow

Really folks, Dope-Yuppies Suck! Sure, they have money, but that doesn’t make them suck less. It makes them suck more. Who else but dope-yuppies spend $13 bucks for a fucking chicken sandwich?

chicken sandwich 13 bucks

Dope yuppies need to make a stupid amount of money, because they spend money stupidly. Because dope-yuppies spend money stupidly, all of the merchants around here cater to the whims of the stupid dope-yuppies with too much money, while they ignore the needs of the people who live and work here. That’s just one way that Dope Yuppies Suck!! The list goes on.

dope yuppies suck

Daryl Cherney talked to me at length about research he’s done into the lawyer behind CCVH, one Mr. Matt Cumin. Cherney told me that he looked into all of the web references about this guy.  He thinks the guy is a fraud, and that he’s just out to take advantage of scared dope-yuppies worried about the coming collapse in the price of marijuana. He also told me that he thought that CCVH’s proposed new ordinance was designed to squeeze small “mom and pop” growers, out of business.

grandma grows pot

That all sounded great to me. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be outraged about, except maybe the regulations, the fee schedule, and the proposed canopy area, but I have no interest in looking at any of that stuff. I’m a writer, not a reporter. I want to get at the truth; I don’t give a damn about facts. I don’t want to see a well regulated marijuana industry in Humboldt County. I want to see Humboldt County’s dope-yuppies go broke, give-up and go away.

go away

That’s what legalization should do. It should flood the market with good weed at reasonable prices in the open market, completely undercutting black market profit margins, causing all of that festering black-market corruption to whither and die. Really, it’s much better for people to think of us as the place with the really big trees, rather than as the heart of the festering corruption that defined the failed War on Drugs.

war on drugs

That’s what really concerns me about the marijuana industry and Humboldt County. Until now, marijuana growers needed the forest. The forest gave them cover, and allowed them to hide marijuana among the trees. Once prohibition disappears, so does the utility of the forest, at least for the purpose of growing marijuana. Without prohibition, the forest is just in the way, soaking up sunlight, and sucking up water that could be otherwise used to grow more marijuana. That’s why we see giant holes in the forest canopy appearing all over Humboldt County.

holes in the canopy
As far as I see it, this is the issue. We can have dope-yuppies, or we can have forests. In the end, we’ll wish we had more forests. In the meantime, the dope-yuppies are going to make a fuss, and they’re going to slash and burn their Humboldt County holdings to squeeze the last few drops of blood out of the War on Drugs. The sooner we put them out of their misery, the better it will be for all of us.

put them out of their misery


Rat Poison for Christmas

'Oh, stop complaining. It's the thought that counts!'

That’s right, you’re all getting rat poison for Christmas. Amy and I are just finishing up our latest episode of Wildlife Matters. Wildlife Matters #4 will focus on the very real threat that rat poison poses to the wildlife around us. Wildlife Matters #4 will debut on KMUD Redwood Community Radio, on Christmas Day, Thursday December 25 at 5pm. We’ll hear from Maggie Rufo of the Hungry Owl Project, and from Mourad Gabriel at the Integral Ecology Research Center. Rat poison is a real bummer folks.

rat poison kids eating

Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides have been describes as “the new DDT,” comparing the effect they have on wildlife to the devastation at the height of the chemical age that inspired Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Today, most wild animals tested, test positive for these deadly poisons, and the effects range from death, and failure to reproduce, to mange, lethargy and a vulnerability to disease and predation.

rat poison kills more than rats

Please tune in to find out how you can help save wild animals from a slow painful death, and prevent rats and mice from getting into your home, tune in to Wildlife Matters on Christmas Day at 5pm on KMUD.  Heres a link to the audio promoHere’s a link to the show’s monthly podcast.

rat poison shouldnt it just be called poison


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