Category Archives: words

Welcome, Willcommen, Bienvenida, to SoHum

welcome languages

As the days grow shorter, and the pervasive aroma of ripening cannabis flowers fills the air, young travelers from all over the world descend on Southern Humboldt to remind us how provincial we are by comparison. What we lack in culture, class and common courtesy, we make up for with money and marijuana. Believe me, if it weren’t for the money and the weed, these adventurous world travelers wouldn’t waste one minute of their precious time on us, but here they come, again.

here they come again

Sure, lots of interesting people come from all over the world to see the giant redwoods, but only marijuana and money brings interesting people here to see us, mainly in search of boring work. I’d think the opportunity to have a crew of people from far flung places like France, Brazil and New Zealand, sharing their diverse backgrounds, as well as their travel stories, as they trim your weed, must be one of the best things about the life of a Humboldt Dope Yuppie. Of course, I don’t think like a Dope Yuppie.

too much weed

Dope Yuppies don’t care about cultural exchange. Still, trimmigrants often advertise their cultural diversity to entice would-be employers. “Two Germans looking for work.” one sign I saw recently read. “For hire: Spanish couple, from Amsterdam…” began the classified ad I heard on KMUD.

get a job in marijuana fields

They have no idea. Ideally the ad should read: “White woman, under 30, with two breasts, seeks employment. Willing to work, ogling tolerated.” Face it. No guy, who has been stuck on a hill in the middle of the forest all by himself for the last six months wants to hear another guy tell him about how hot the women in Berlin are, or about the club scene in Brazil, or even about farming on a Kibbutz in Israel. He knows that he is not getting off of that hill until all of that weed gets clipped. He wants to see pounds of marketable product, and tits. That’s it.

woman with weed

Growers generally don’t maintain facilities for these seasonal workers, and at the time when growers need them, every square foot of indoor space is usually full of freshly harvested cannabis. Often, trimmigrants sleep on the floor of the drying shed, in the crawl space beneath the hanging herb, usually just a few feet away from a folding chair in which they will spend almost every waking minute of their entire two week, or month long stay. That is the life of a trimmigrant.

trimming pot

Yes, people from all over, come here, to one of the most beautiful places in the whole world, to spend 16 hours a day locked in a windowless room full of weed, operating a pair of scissors under unchanging artificial light. The work is not difficult, but it is extremely dull, and it demands long hours. If you can tolerate the boredom, muscle cramps and eye-strain, don’t mind watching a few weeks of your life evaporate, and don’t have a life to lead that you can’t just disappear from for a month or so, trimming weed can seem like a decent gig. A good trimmer can earn $1000 or more per week, and sometimes they even get paid.

not getting paid

Local merchants should celebrate this influx of foreign tourists. I’ve seen these kids eat at all of the local restaurants and cafes. I see them buy groceries and beer, and I’m sure they’d even pay for a place to camp, if they could find a reasonably priced campground. They spend money, but a lot of them come from places where they just naturally expect to be treated like human beings by the businesses they patronize. I guess that’s kind of a European thing, but, you know, we could give it a shot.

give it a shot

I haven’t seen much by way of hospitality extended to these people who have come such a long way to visit our little community. I mean, we put out porta-potties and throw a barbeque for the bikers when they come here to get drunk and loud at the Harley Run. I’ll bet we could get trimmigrants to spend more money here, if we treated them like we were glad to see them, and offered them things they needed and wanted.

give them what they want

They couldn’t be any scummier than the bikers; there’s more of them, and they stay longer. Really, these are some the nicest, most interesting people you are likely to meet in Humboldt County at any time of year. We should all make the most of our time with them while they are here. In that spirit, I say: “Welcome to SoHum. How may I be of service?” and “Wir sprechen Deutsch”

wir sprechen deutsch

(not really, but I’ll do my best to dredge up what I can remember from watching Hogan’s Heroes)

hogans heroes

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

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!


Daniel Quinn Talks To Us About His New Book, The Teachings That Came Before and After Ishmael


On Sunday November 30, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, at 9:30 am on KMUD Redwood Community Radio, you can hear my lovely partner, Amy Gustin interview the world-renowned, author and thinker, Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, My Ishmael, The Story of B, Beyond Civilization and many other books.

cover ishmael-horz-vert

Daniel Quinn has a new book, titled: The Teachings That Came Before and After Ishmael.

cover the teachings

Quinn realized that, while many people have read Ishmael, most people have missed the material he covers in his other books. In The Teachings… Quinn condenses the ideas from all of his other writing into one book, the perfect companion to his central work: Ishmael.

ishmael cover open

If you haven’t read Ishmael yet, you absolutely must read this book. Every responsible adult who can read, owes it to themselves, and to the future of Planet Earth, to read Ishmael. Some people look at the title, and get a load of the zealous people telling them to read it, and think that Ishmael must be some kind of weird religious mumbo-jumbo that brain-washes readers into joining a cult.

ishmael tattoo

True, you’ll find some biblical stuff in there, like a pretty good explanation for the story of Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel, and after you read it, you may want to join a cult, but there is nothing religious about Ishmael, and it contains absolutely no mumbo-jumbo. Ishmael is a good book to help you understand exactly what went wrong.

ishmael teacher seeks student

If you want to know what caused the environmental crisis, read Ishmael. If you want to understand overpopulation, read Ishmael. If you want to know why you spend so much time at work, and why it sucks so much, read Ishmael. Ishmael can help you understand where you stand. If you understand where you stand, you can figure out what to do. So, before you do anything else, read Ishmael.

read ishmael

…And pick up Quinn’s newest book, The Teachings That Came Before and After Ishmael to go with it. The Teachings… contains condensed versions of The Story of B and My Ishmael, as well as excerpts from Tales of Adam, Beyond Civilization, The Book of the Damned, Providence, The Invisibility of Success, and If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways. Even if you can’t read, you can listen to Daniel Quinn himself explain his work to you so you can see for yourself why so many people feel so strongly about a short novel about a talking gorilla.

ishmael gorilla

Please tune in on Sunday November 30 at 9:30 am Pacific Time for a very special episode of The Living Earth Connection featuring a new interview with visionary author, Daniel Quinn recorded just this week…I can’t tell you the details of it because the interview hasn’t happened yet, but we expect to talk to him tomorrow. You can hear the show on the radio, if you live within the KMUD listening area, or you can stream the show live, or at anytime thereafter on the KMUD archive at

kmud logo

You can also stream or download both Living Earth Connection #12 featuring Daniel Quinn talking about his new book as well as Wildlife Matters #3 featuring Mourad Gabriel on fisher ecology and rat poison at Amy Gustin’s blog The Living Earth Connection.

living earth connection

Please Buy My New Book: On The Money: Economics for the 99%, How the Economy Works, and Why It Works Against You.

OTM ebook cover

At last, I am very pleased to announce the publication of my first book: On The Money: Economics for the 99% or, How The Economy Works and Why It Works Against You. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll remember On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a series of weekly essays that appeared here from 2011-13.


Besides offering a thought provoking, phenomenological analysis of our current economic system, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains some of my best and funniest writing. The fact that Savage Henry Magazine and Fifth Estate Magazine have both published essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series, should tell you that On The Money: Economics fro the 99% is both funny enough for stupid people and radical enough for smart people.


Essays from the On The Money: Economics for the 99% series remain some of the most popular posts here at lygsbtd, and you can still find them highly ranked on my “most read” (“Stuff People Read”) section in the right-hand column. My new book, On The Money: Economics for the 99% contains classics like:

classics like
Gilligan’s Island as Economic Metaphor
Barbie v Bratz
Hello, My Name is Civilization and I’m an Alcoholic
How To Party Now That the Party’s Over
Foie Gras
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
along with 62 other great essays first published here. I’ve revised and updated them all, so they’re even funnier and more relevant than before. Even if you’ve already read all of these essays before, out of order, and over the course of three years, you haven’t seen the whole picture. You owe it to yourself to read the book in it’s completion. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

whole is greater

You owe it to me too! For three and a half years now I pour myself out for you. Every week, thousands of you come here for some little respite from your miserable lives. You slurp up whatever I have to offer, and then you slink away. Well it’s time to pay the piper!


What’s it worth to you folks?

worth it6

We’re only talking about $5 here! That works out to about 14 essays, or 14,000 carefully chosen words, for each dollar. That’s a hell of a bargain if you ask me, and you’ve had plenty of opportunity to sample the wares, so don’t tell me you’re not interested, because you’re here, for God’s sake.

you are here snake

Please, if my work means anything to you, and you want to see this blog continue, buy a copy of On The Money: Economics for the 99%. You won’t regret it. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is a great book. You’ll love reading it. I love reading it, and I hate to read. I guarantee that you will not find a more entertaining or informative book about economics anywhere, at any price.


You need to know this stuff. On The Money: Economics for the 99% examines our modern economy from the perspective of someone who has to live in it. This book explains how the economy consumes you, your world, and your future.

OTM gas flare

To save yourself, you need to know how the economy really works. Your future depends on it. I know you don’t want to think about it. That’s why I always look for the weird angle, and try to keep it playful. If you can laugh at it, you can beat it.

OTM ever wonder duck

Come on folks! I am your writer. I tell the truth, and I make it entertaining. You may not always agree with me. Hell, you may not ever agree with me, but something brings you back, week after week. Well, if you want to keep coming back, and finding new stuff here, show some appreciation for the three and a half years of my life I’ve already given you. Even if you can’t read, and just come here to look at the pictures,PLEASE, BUY MY FUCKING BOOK! It has a great cover!


I’m serious people! I need your help right now. $5 from you will make a huge impact on my life, and you’ll get a great 70,000 word ebook, that I put a hell of a lot of work into, to read at your leisure. Put it on your card, charge it to your pay pal account, however you want to do it is fine, just DO IT NOW!! Please.

OTM everyone buys it

And buy a copy for a friend. Surely you know someone who really needs to see things from a different perspective. Give On The Money: Economics for the 99% as a gift. Infect others with these ideas, don’t just let them fester inside your own head. On The Money: Economics for the 99% has the potential to change the economy, by changing the way people see it.

OTM because life

It’s going to take a movement folks, and the more people who read On The Money: Economics for the 99%, the faster that movement will grow. So, please, get the word, and spread the word. On The Money: Economics for the 99% is the book everyone must read today.

can u longgif

Word Power; Grangerize



Word Power

Building Your Vocabulary One word at a Time

grangerize wordgrangerize



grangerize (grain jer eyes) v to illustrate by inserting engravings or photographs from other books. Also to mutilate books to obtain material for such illustrations. Derived from the English author James Granger, who used this method to illustrate his book: Biographical History of England.


James Granger

James Granger


How about that! There’s a word to describe the method I use to illustrate this blog.


I guess that makes me a grangerizer. …or maybe I could call myself a Granger Ranger.

granger ranger


Word Power; Misology


wordpowerWord Power


Building Your Vocabulary One Word at a Time




misology album


misology (miz olleh gee) n hatred of argument, reason or enlightenment


misology sarah palin


Usually the suffix “ology” at the end of a word means “science of” whatever the first part of the word refers to. In this case, however, “misology” does not refer to the science of hatred, but rather the hatred of science.


i hate science


Personally, I enjoy a good argument. I don’t go out of my way to start them, and I do my best to avoid them at parties or other social events, but I find debate invigorating and I’m open to having my mind changed by a thoughtful and well reasoned position.

fuck you science

I don’t think that argument is necessarily a great way to uncover the truth of a matter, but I still find them a worthwhile intellectual exercise.

girls hate science


Many people however, find any dispute distasteful. They want harmony and positivity at all times. Strong opinions, controversial ideas and differing perspectives make them uncomfortable, and will likely provoke a hostile response. For them, small talk is big enough, I guess.

keep calm hate science



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