Category Archives: wildlife

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


Daddy, Where Did Alcoholism Come From?

dad-drinks baby serves

Have you ever wondered about that yourself? I mean, we all know someone, if it hasn’t happened to us personally. How many of us have struggled with alcoholism, or even more commonly, just learned to live with it? A lot of our parents drank, and if not our parents, our grandparents, uncles, aunts, family friends etc. We learned more about alcoholism from watching our family than we did about sex, and most of what we learned about alcoholism mirrored what we learned about sex. That is: kids don’t understand the appeal of it, and shouldn’t do it, but adults seem unable to resist its temptations, and it frequently ruins their lives.

Dad-whats-it-like-to-be-drunk

History tells us that, here in the US, the further back you go, the more we drank. In the 1850s, Americans consumed, on average, more than a pint of whiskey every day for every man, woman and child, in the US, including newborns. Did newborn babies drink whiskey in the 1850s? I don’t know, but everyone else sure did. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

ben Franklin_quote

Of course, alcoholism goes back much further than that. The Romans drank. The Greeks drank. Jesus turned water into wine. Only an alcoholic would see that as a miracle. I don’t know if Moses drank, but he hung with Pharaoh, and Pharaoh definitely drank beer. I don’t think Adam and Eve drank, but I’ll bet that Cain and Able both did.

Cain-abel

Think about that. Alcoholism was already well established, common, and endemic to society, well before the earliest written language, and even before the oldest stories recorded in them. For all of that time, alcoholism has remained a fixture in society, and society has dealt with the consequences of alcoholism. Our society does not remember a time before alcoholism, or where alcoholism came from. We know when temperance movements began, and who founded them, but who was the first drunk? Nobody knows. Why don’t we have a story about how or why or when we started drinking so much?

your drunk go home

Our society does not remember a time before alcoholism for the same reason that I don’t remember a time before mom. We don’t remember our origins. We have to put our origin story together from what we can glean second hand, and we may learn that the story our mother tells, may not be the whole story. For instance, here’s one of those persistent questions regarding the origin of our culture, that mom really doesn’t have a good explanation for: Why did some people stop living a hunting and gathering lifestyle, and instead, devoted their time and energy to burning the forests that provided them with wild game, so that they could farm, however inefficiently, barley and wheat.

eaRLY FARMERs

I’ve read a few books on the topic, and they usually offer a few theories, with no definitive answer. They may suggest that people living in the Levant 10,000 years ago decided they needed more food to feed a growing population, but evidence shows that the population only grew after the adoption of an agricultural lifestyle. They may postulate that farming was a technological breakthrough that allowed more leisure time, even though the evidence shows that hunting and gathering cultures enjoy far more leisure time than do their farming counterparts. Some books even suggest that farming provided more nutrition than a hunting and gathering lifestyle, making early agriculturalists stronger than their neighbors. Again, the evidence points in another direction. Human skeletons show that early agriculturalists were on average six inches shorter than their hunting and gathering neighbors, and showed many signs of malnutrition completely absent in their hunting and gathering contemporaries.

body blow for modern humans

So, we don’t know why some humans quit the hunting and gathering lifestyle and started farming, but we assume they had a good reason, because it led to the birth of civilization, and eventually, us. We assume this was a good thing, because it culminates in us, but we should consider the possibility that the switch from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to an agricultural one, may not have been such a great choice, and alcohol may have been involved.

alcohol involved

Clearly alcoholism and agriculture began at about the same time, in roughly the same place, and their histories have been intimately intertwined ever since. Doesn’t it make sense that the two things could be related? You know, the major expansion in the production of barley and wheat, the primary ingredients of beer, might have had something to do with this persistent, pathological thirst for alcohol, that has caused so much suffering for so many people for so many generations that we eventually recognized it as a debilitating disease and called it alcoholism.

day drinking

What else do you think they did with all of that grain? The invention of bread was still centuries away, and bread began as a kind of beer-making kit in loaf form. Do you think people would burn down a productive forest and toil in the hot sun scratching the bare earth with a rock tied to a stick for tabbouleh? Hell no! Now ask yourself, “Would men do that for beer?” You know they would, and all of the evidence supports the claim that they did. Civilization is our mother, but alcoholism is our father.

DRINKING FOR THREE

Let that sink in. In school they teach us that the “agricultural revolution” gave birth to civilization like it was a good thing. They never mention the booze, do they? How do you suppose they could have overlooked that? Damn near every shard of ancient pottery archaeologists unearth shows evidence that it once held beer. These people drank, and they drank habitually. They loved beer. They couldn’t get enough of it, and they sacrificed a lot to satisfy that craving.

99 problems

We’ve all seen what alcoholism can do to a person, and we’ve seen how far people have to go before they hit rock bottom and admit that they have a problem. We’ve all seen how alcoholism destroys families and ruins lives. Now imagine an entire culture based entirely on the endless pathological thirst for alcohol. Surprise! You don’t have to imagine it. Just look around and appreciate it.

alcohol_culture

Look at the toll chronic alcoholism has taken on planet Earth. A third of the Earth’s land mass has been converted to agriculture, not to feed people, but to make booze. The people come along later. Drunk people make poor family planning choices, which leads to overpopulation. Overpopulation leads to a plethora of other problems, which encourages ingenuity. However, ingenuity only mitigates problems, and never solves them because no amount of ingenuity can undo the fundamental imbalance caused by the pathological craving for alcohol.

alcohol kills born

We sure are proud of our ingenuity though. Aren’t we? We think farming was an ingenious innovation over hunting and gathering, and we’ve just been amazingly ingenious ever since. We think that we are smarter, more advanced and have evolved to a higher form of intelligence, because we’ve shown such amazing problem solving skills. We’ve gotten good at solving problems because we’re even better at creating them.

government SOLUTIONS

If you ask most people why they think civilized human beings dominate the planet, they will tell you it is because of our high intelligence and advanced technology. They won’t say, “Because alcohol makes us feel good, and we don’t care about anything but feeling good and we will do anything to anybody who stands between us and feeling good.” but that’s where our ingenuity comes from.

Ginspiration!

Today, through sheer ingenuity and hard work, we’ve engineered an environmental crisis for the ages, and a society of unimaginable cruelty and inequality. Ingenuity and hard work are strategies we employ as a culture, to compensate for the negative effects of our cultural alcoholism. Basically, you can think of all of the time you spend at work, and the time you spend trying to come up with a new business idea, as part of the price you personally pay to participate in an alcoholic culture. I know this sounds weird, but you knew our society was sick, didn’t you? Doesn’t the diagnosis help? Alcoholism is a disease we understand. We can beat alcoholism. We can beat alcoholism, but first we have to admit that we have a problem.

drinking-cat-

I realize that I’ve covered this material here before, but it bears repeating, and is worth considering from a variety of perspectives. It’s a big idea, so I don’t mind slicing it a little finer.

big ideas


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


Some Unfinished Business From 2014

unfinished business

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

blog post with no images

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

HereGoesSomethingLet’s start with this one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

shit creekwithout a paddle…

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

weiner cutoffor here:

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

confused..and that you eventually join us here:

hippy traffic jam1

just look out for:

tripping hippie warningbecause he’s probably on:

lsd

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

private sign

I saw some amazing Halloween costumes this year:

penis vagina costume

tampon  nunchucks

diaper man

mermaid girl

taco cat

…and a few costumes intended for other holidays:

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

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

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

franken xmasSo, join us in celebrating.

for lease navidad

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

dali quote

why dog…but where are the drugs?

vaginas arewell break ‘em out!

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

panda cat bong

smoking dog

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

picture unrelatedor this:

milk is a natural

or this:

cannibalism-shrink wrapped

or this:

cats have coffee

Take it from me…

ive seen some weird shit

Well… That’s it for 2014.

thanks i guessDid you like it?

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

sametimenextweek


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


A Report from the Global Climate Summit in Lima, Peru

COP20

I just heard David Simpson and Jane Lapiner…

david simpson jane lapiner

calling from Peru to report on the global climate summit taking place there.  This is not the first global climate summit David and Jane have reported from. I recall that they walked-out of the last global climate summit they attended.

NGOs walk out at COP19 in Warsaw

After flying 10,000 miles or so to Copenhagen, they “walked-out” in protest of the fact that governments around the world were not serious about addressing Global Climate Change, and that the delegates were just spinning their wheels while they enjoyed deluxe accommodations, succulent cuisine, and free-flowing refreshments. It became obvious to them, as well as to the majority of climate activists in attendance, that the governments of the world were not serious about stopping global climate change.

global warming failure

No shit, Sherlock. I could have told you that, and I didn’t have to fly half-way around the world to know it. Most people do not understand what government is, or how it operates, and they expect all kinds of crazy things from government, that government can never, and will never, do. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people still go to their government to demand change.

Protesters scale Buckingham Palace gates

Too many people think about governments in the same way that people think about God. They anthropomorphize government. They imagine that government has the presidents face and voice, and that congress is its heart, the CIA and FBI are its brain, and the Supreme Court, its conscience. They think about government as a functioning, conscious, and sentient being with a capacity for intelligence, compassion and intent.

consciousness

You see how ridiculous this sounds when you put it in so many words. Here’s the problem: As humans, evolution has equipped us very well to think about people, as people, and to understand and empathize with them. We are also well equipped to think about, and talk about, things as objects, and to manipulate them very effectively. A government is neither a person, nor an object, and that makes it difficult for us to think about government, and to think about government effectively, we need a lot more information about it than we are likely stumble across in the course of our daily lives.

question marks in the sky

That means that if we want to understand government, it’s going to take work. Most of us already work too much, so most of us just tend to think of government as Big Brother, one single individual, immensely powerful, unbelievably stupid, and dangerously volatile, but as one person, nonetheless, and as a person who has the capacity to act intentionally, or at least in response to stimuli.

big brother

In reality, we should think of government as an enormous wriggling pile of maggots, feasting on putrefied waste. The maggots have a voracious appetite, and their waste putrefies everything it contaminates, which only makes more putrid goo for government to feast on. Government is made of thousands of people, all driven by their own personal interests, and everything they want must be sucked out of the waste and debris of exploited resources. Hence the maggot metaphor.

maggots

Government is a disease. The symptoms include war, environmental devastation, inequality, poverty, crime, etc. None of these are possible without government, and all of them flow directly from government. Whenever the people stand up to corporate exploitation, it’s always the government that shows up, in the form of cops, SWAT teams, or the National Guard, to make sure the road goes through, or the pipeline gets built, or that the Board of Directors can meet.

war government

Global Warming is the fever from the disease called government, so don’t expect government to solve it. Government enables it, causes it, necessitates it. Government makes it all possible. So, when governments get together to try to address global climate change, it;s just another mass of feasting maggots. It’s disgusting. I can understand why they walked out, but once you walk out, you don’t go crawling back.

come crawling back

But David and Jane went crawling back, to follow the maggots to Lima, Peru, clocking another bundle of miles on their frequent-flyer cards, no doubt. David and Jane called KMUDs Monday Morning Magazine to let us know that the pile of maggots has not done anything substantial except wriggle hungrily and shit prolifically. Big surprise there.

big surprise1

They told us we shouldn’t count on governments to do anything, and that we should work here at home to fight global warming, and and that we should stop driving our F250 trucks so much.

rolling coal f350

We know. I’ll bet Lima’s lovely this time of year, I hope you saw the sights, but you know better now, right? I mean that little civics lesson has a big carbon footprint, so I hope you’ve really got it straight now.

carbon footprint

Just in case, you’re still not sure. If you decide to attend the next global climate summit, in Paris, please spare us the call.

spare us


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