Tag Archives: Work

This Kind, Wonderful Community Called SoHum

sohum community

This past week, officers from our local VFW post changed the locks on the doors of the Garberville Vets Hall to prevent the building from being used as an emergency shelter during our recent spate of severe weather. We have no other shelters in Southern Humboldt, and hundreds of people live outside around here, largely due to the lack of housing, economic forces, and the nature of the cannabis industry.

homeless in sohum

A lot of these people currently work regular jobs in town that don’t pay enough to afford a decent place to live. More still, work in the cannabis industry. Of course we also have people who suffer from illness, mental or otherwise, that prevent them from thriving, and people who simply cannot cope with, or have given up on society, and/or life. It’s much too large of a population to make generalizations about, except to say that too many people in SoHum have too few housing options.

People protesting for squatters' rights at the home of the justice minister, Ken Clarke

We have a perverse attitude towards poverty in SoHum, although I don’t think SoHum is unique in this perversion. We try to punish poverty with more poverty. We attempt to drive poor people from our midst by withholding services, and demonstrating our hostility and disdain for them. It never works. Every year we have more poor people, and every year, the hostility increases. Isn’t it about time we faced the fact that not everyone in SoHum can be rich or middle-class?

park-boat-in-boat

Try as we like, we cannot run a town exclusively for the benefit of the rich and the middle-class. In fact, almost no-one in SoHum would be rich or middle-class were it not for a hell of a lot of poor people. The black-market marijuana industry makes a few people rich, but it makes a lot of people poor. Most of the money that comes into SoHum by way of the cannabis industry, comes from poor people. Besides that, poor people do most of the work necessary to produce and distribute black-market cannabis as well, but the secrecy of the industry, and a community in denial, demand that they remain unheard and unrecognized, if not, unseen.

workers transplant cannabis

Here in SoHum, not unlike the rest of the world, we have two kinds of people. A) people who make their living from what they own, and B) people who make their living from what they do. Around here, the thing that people own, that makes money, is land, and the thing that people do, to make money, is grow weed. The people who own land, the “owners” if you will, fall broadly into two categories: A) the dope yuppies, who got here first, and their kids. These people still think they are God’s greatest gift to humanity because they invented marijuana and hold a patent on it. They think that the rest of us are just lucky to get high, at any price, and that we should be nothing but thankful to them for it.

thankful for cannabis

Whenever you hear the word “community” used in Southern Humboldt, it refers exclusively to this group of people. Increasingly though, as the dope yuppies retire, they sell out to: B) large-scale distributors from out of state, who send managers, to aggressively expand production, often at their neighbor’s expense.

big grow humboldt county

Both the dope yuppies, and their successors, the big distributors, need help from the “Doers” in order for their land to make money. They need workers, lots of them, but not the normal 9-5 type workers. They need people who can drop everything and move to a remote piece of land, where they camp-out all summer while they do all of the work necessary to turn piles of soil into piles of cannabis.

pile_of_marijuana

These workers need to work hard in the hot sun, deal with primitive conditions, keep a secret, know the cannabis industry, and appreciate good weed. The pay is negotiable, and often based on a share of the harvest. Usually, the people who want these jobs have exhausted other options. Growers know who they’re looking for. They recognize desperation, and take advantage of it when they can.

take advantage

The people who want these jobs know that if you work hard, volunteer a lot, and suck-up to the right people, you can get off of the streets and into some abandoned trailer or shack with plenty of weed, and maybe even a few bucks in your pocket. If you’ve been convicted of a felony, didn’t finish high-school or have big gaps in your employment record, this might be the best job you can get. As a result, a lot of people come here, smile a lot, and try to find something nice to say about everyone.

hippie couple

“Oh, this is such a kind, wonderful community.” and “We feel so blessed to have found this place and want to contribute to it in any way we can” they say, as they help clean-up after a music festival. This proven strategy has helped many young “doers” find underground work and substandard housing where they produce most of the marijuana grown in SoHum. It has also contributed greatly to the swollen egos of the dope yuppies, who have come to expect lots of free labor and ass-kissings from hapless strangers looking for work.

carlin quote ass kissers

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so grows this workforce. By now, they comprise the majority of the population of SoHum. These people make Humboldt County prosperous, and they pay a lot of taxes. However, they are not protected by workman’s comp; OSHA never inspects their workplace, nor will they receive unemployment benefits if they lose their job, and inevitably, they lose their job, and have to start from scratch.

start from scratch

So, we have a large workforce of people who don’t mind camping for extended periods of time, in an industry with a high turnover rate. In this business, generally, your boss and your landlord are the same person, so when you lose your job, you lose your home too. This happens a lot. The cannabis industry becomes a trap, and the workers in it rarely get ahead, so eventually, they quit, or get fired, but instead of complaining, they keep their mouth shut, and continue singing the praises of “this kind, wonderful community,” while they attempt to brown-nose their way into another job.

brown noser jlo

It shouldn’t surprise us one bit that we have lots of people camping around Garberville, because that’s the nature of the cannabis industry. The cannabis industry needs workers who know how to “rough it” even if local merchants prefer to cater to a different clientele. Most of the people who live here in SoHum have no use for dashboard hula dancers, makeovers or $25 dollar-a-plate entrees. They need a campground, affordable housing, cheap eats, a place to charge their cell phone and wifi, not that anyone cares.

nobody cares

Nor should it surprise us to hear so many praises for “this kind, wonderful community” from people who enjoy so few benefits from their participation in it. How could “this kind, wonderful community” exploit them more? In truth, land owners use the veil of secrecy that surrounds the cannabis industry to sweep displaced workers under the rug, and we see how “kind and wonderful” this community really is, by how it treats the least fortunate among us, on the coldest nights of the year.

ron machado in the rain crop


SoHum, It’s More of a Casino Than a Community

casino

Now that the weather has turned cold and rainy, I worry about my friends here in SoHum who lack adequate housing. I know it looks like we have a bunch of houses and a few trailer courts around here, but most of those structures have been at least partially, if not entirely, converted to indoor cannabis cultivation. Nobody lives there. Because of that, a lot of the people who work at the restaurants, stores and hotels in town, and on the pot farms in the hills, live in their cars, or camp in the woods.

camp in the woods

They really don’t have a choice. There’s just not enough housing available for the number of people who work here, so people make do. The cannabis industry, by nature, does not create a lot of steady, reliable jobs. Instead, it suckers people in with the promise of big profits, which rarely turn out as planned. It’s a gamblers game, and everyone has their ups and downs.

gamblers

Our corrupt Sheriff sees thousands and thousands of illegal, habitat destroying, salmon killing dope farms on “google earth,” but sends his deputies out to harass poor people for talking to their friends on the sidewalk in Garberville. We have dozens of unsolved murders, countless other violent crimes occur here daily, and multiple global organized crime networks operate here with impunity, but Sheriff Downey sends his Deputies down here to act as bouncers for the merchants in the Garberville business district, and to evict people from their makeshift shelters.

sheriff-in-gville

 

A lot of people see no problem with this. They think the sheriff shouldn’t worry so much about crime, and should instead focus on sweeping poor people out of town. Really, we don’t care about crime. We like crime. We are crime. We take pride in our outlaw status, but we prefer to cater to more upscale felons, and we expect the Sheriff’s Department to rid us of the riff-raff, whether they’ve committed any crime or not.

riff raff rocky horror

It’s a strange attitude, considering how much Southern Humboldt relies on, and takes advantage of poor people. Poor working people grow, process and sell almost all of the millions of pounds of cannabis grown in SoHum. Besides doing most of the hard labor and taking most of the risks, they pay most of the hotel bed tax. Poor working people, who can’t find a place to live, often rent hotel rooms to avoid inclement weather, shower, do laundry, charge cell phones etc. Poor local homeless people keep our SoHum’s hotels in business, and clean the rooms every day, besides.

hotel maid Change-Sheets

Last year, the county passed another tax, specifically targeting the poorest taxpayers in Humboldt County, Measure Z. The new sales tax, targets the poor in more ways than one. First, it taxes the poor when they buy necessities, like clothing and toiletries. Then it gives that money to the sheriff, who uses it to harass them, evict them from their makeshift shelters, and drive them out of town. I know Measure Z is a county-wide tax, but folks in SoHum loved the idea and pushed it hard. I’ve never known people to work harder to screw poor people than they do here in SoHum.

measure z homeless-family

You will hear a lot of rhetorical references to “community” in Southern Humboldt. We have the world famous Mateel “Community” Center, the equally famous Redwood “Community” Radio, and we talk about “this community” a lot, but we use the term euphemistically. What happens here in SoHum is something else entirely.

something else

SoHum has become a “Mecca” for greedy, self-absorbed drug-dealers who make their money by destroying communities all over America. Ordinarily, drug dealers lead secret lives, alienated from the community around them by the clandestine nature of their occupation. They tell lies to avoid arousing suspicion and keep a low profile, while they undermine community values and enrich themselves.

hey-kids-wanna-buy-some-weed_

Drug dealers parasitize communities the way ticks parasitize dogs. Here, however, we have thousands upon thousands of ticks, piled on top of each other, posing as a dog. From a distance, it looks like a dog, but when you get close enough to touch it, you’ll find nothing but a mass of blood-suckers eager to feast on you.

tick bite

Sure, drug dealers feel a camaraderie with each other, here, that they don’t often find elsewhere, and they are always eager to make connections, especially profitable ones, but that doesn’t make them a community. Instead, think of them as card players in a poker game. On the surface, they maintain a “poker face,” and appear friendly and cordial, but beneath the calm exterior, they are all scheming to take advantage of each other.

poker players

That’s not really what you call “community.” Communities work together to take care of each other. That’s not what goes on here in SoHum. People come here to play “the game” and make money. They’re not interested in any “seventh generation” bullshit, and they don’t give a damn about the “common good.”

common good

“The game”, of course, is the cannabis industry. Some people win at this game, but a lot of people lose. Merchants and non-profits create lots of opportunities for “high-rollers” to get drunk and blow their winnings, and, of course, we kick the penniless losers out on the street. Doesn’t that sound like a casino to you? If you ignore all of the hollow talk about “community” and think of SoHum as a gambling casino it becomes easier to understand the dynamics of this place.

understanding-power-dynamics

For instance:

for instance

We don’t do charity here. No one wants to help the less fortunate. Everyone here wants more for themselves, and the people who have the most, want more still. Instead of charity, we have “community non-profits” where the richest people in this community decide what ridiculously expensive luxury they would enjoy most, and then convince everyone else to donate time, money and energy to make it happen.

socialism for the rich

You might have noticed that we have a top-shelf concert hall, a high-powered radio station, a fancy new town square, and a huge new community park with an organic farm and soon an athletic field infested with soccer moms. Imagine those things as crystal chandeliers suspended over the gaming floor of a huge casino. You know how casinos are. Casinos overdo the luxuries, until everything reeks of too much money and not enough taste. Casinos spend money on extravagant luxuries, like crystal chandeliers, in a futile attempt to conceal the general sleaziness of the place. We do the same thing here in SoHum.

chandelier in casino

Those chandeliers do nothing to dignify the activity going on beneath them, but that’s why so many people around here can find money for a new “chandelier,” but have nothing but contempt for the people who do most of the work around here, pay most of the taxes, and still have no place to live.   Clearly, the people who live here, have the resources to solve SoHum’s housing crisis, but in the casino we call “SoHum” people obviously have other priorities.

other priorites cheney


I Give Thanks

bird chills

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, and of course, I’m very thankful to live here in Southern Humboldt. I’m thankful for my partner Amy with whom I’ve shared the past 19 years, and for our modest home in the woods. I’m thankful for the firs and the redwoods, the madrones and the tan oaks, the manzanitas and the huckleberries, and all the myriad wildlife who inhabit them. I’m thankful for the rivers, the salmon, the sturgeon and the lamprey and I’m thankful to live in a community that values them.

salmon in forest

I give thanks for every day I live to enjoy this marvelous place, which I’m sure you can easily understand, but in the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve learned to appreciate another side to life in Southern Humboldt that I never thought I’d be thankful for. Let’s call them “acquired tastes.” For instance:

acquired taste
I’m thankful to Estelle Fennell for making me miss Roger Rodoni.

fennell rodoni

I’m thankful to CCVH for turning SoHum’s criminal low-lifes into corporate sleaze-balls.

ccvh corporate sleaze balls

I’m thankful for hash-lab explosions because I like it when the bass goes BOOM.

hash lab explosion

I’m thankful to dope yuppies for giving me so much to write about.

hiaasen quote

I’m thankful for bankers and real estate agents for reminding me that there are less ethical ways to make a living than by dealing drugs.

fat-banker1

I’m thankful that there remain a few businesses in the greater Garberville/Redway area that Steve Dazey does not own.

dazeys supply panel

I’m thankful for the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce and the Town Patrol for reminding me that there are uglier things in this world than poverty, homelessness and drug addiction, like intolerance, bigotry and vigilantism, for instance.

Garberville welcome to buy

I’m thankful for our local tweakers because they act as urban scarecrows, scaring mainly tourists, and because they provide local youth with a cautionary example of what can happen to you if you use meth. If our tweakers don’t scare them straight, nothing will.

tweaker-tilemeth before after

I’m thankful that my friends, who lack adequate housing, remain here, year after year, despite inclement weather, open hostility and police harassment, because without them, this town has far too few likable people.

speak 4 languages

I’m thankful for my friends who have adequate housing for the same reason.

friends 3 stooges

I’m thankful for the prices at Shop Smart in Redway and Ray’s in Garberville because they make it worth the drive to Eureka, to shop somewhere else.

shop smart

I’m thankful for the Humane Society Thrift Store in Garberville because I like knowing that the money I blow on stupid second-hand electronic toys gets used to rip the genitals off of small furry animals.

No, no, not this one.  The other one. down the street from where this one used to be.

No, no, not this one. The other one. down the street from where this one used to be.

I’m thankful for our local non-profits like KMUD, the Mateel, Sanctuary Forest, Friends of the Eel and Bird Ally X because without their T-shirts, I’d have nothing to wear.

bird ally x t shirt-horz

 

I’m thankful that the local workforce isn’t more ambitious or competent, and that those eager-beavers from Fortuna have to drive so far to get here, because if I have to take a shitty job, the last thing I want is competition.

incompetence1

I’m thankful for ALL of the people of Southern Humboldt, if for no other reason, than at least for the fact that there are so few of us per square mile.

sohum people-tile

Finally, most of all, I’m thankful for you, dear reader, for taking the time to read these words, regardless of how they make you feel. I appreciate your time, and hope you find the experience rewarding in some way. On behalf of Amy and myself, I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.

Happy-Thanksgiving


Free the Weed, Screw the Economy

weed economy

In the current debate over how to regulate cannabis in a legal environment, I hear an inordinate amount of concern about the possible economic effects of disrupting the current black-market. I mean, we didn’t mind when Amazon drove brick-and-mortar bookstores out of business. We didn’t care when itunes destroyed the record industry. “That’s progress,” and “You’ve got to stay ahead of the curve if you want to compete.” we said. It seems to me, that this whole internet revolution, that turned our economy upside-down, and ruined a whole lot of honest hard-working people’s lives in the process, remains hugely popular, despite the casualties.

record store

But I guess it’s a different story when it comes to drug dealers and the legalization of marijuana. That’s what they’re telling us, right? They are telling us that we need to regulate marijuana very carefully so that the price remains high enough to preserve the drug-gangster lifestyle. The recently passed CA state medical marijuana regulations will dramatically slow the development of new, legal, cannabis related business opportunities. Instead, they create a whole bunch of totally unnecessary, regulatory jobs for people who do nothing, except consume tax dollars and keep marijuana expensive. It’s appalling!

Appalling-Vistas-

For decades, we’ve paid exorbitant black-market prices for pot. We’ve lost jobs, been denied jobs, paid fines and legal fees, and spent time in jail, as veterans of the War on Drugs. We’ve paid excessive taxes, suffered indescribable social injustice, and lost civil rights, to pay for the cruel, misguided, and completely unnecessary, War on Drugs. The War on Drugs has claimed millions of casualties. We’ve been through hell in the War on Drugs. We’ve paid enough for marijuana. After what we’ve been through, no one should ever have to pay for marijuana, ever again. Never.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We really shouldn’t worry so much about the effect the collapse of the marijuana black-market will have on our local economy. I know that the prospect of shrinkage in our local economy frightens people, but we should embrace it. What good does the economy do, if it destroys the environment, works us to death, and makes the things we need ridiculously expensive? The truth is, the marijuana economy does a lot more harm than good, and we’d be better off without it than you think.

better off than you think

It is important to remember that he economy is not one of those “more is better” kind of things. If you haven’t read my book, On the Money, Economics for the 99%, you owe it to yourself to do so. In it, I explain, in detail, how the economy works against you, and why making the economy larger, inevitably makes your life worse,. Consider this example:

consider this

Imagine a businessman, running his own small business, but business is slow. He’s just scraping by, economically. He goes to work at 9:00am, where he has a few orders to fill, and the phone rings once in a while. He makes a few calls himself, to drum up some new business. His customers like him because he gives them excellent service, and he’s built a personal relationship with most of them, but business is slow all around, so they don’t have much work to send his way. By 3pm he’s got his work squared away for the day, so he decides to knock off early. Of course he’s got his phone on, in case he gets a new order, but he’s out the door at 3pm.

Department of Lexicography:

Since it is such a lovely afternoon, he decides to take a walk in the park, and stop at the library on the way home. He arrives home around 5pm, with a stack of library books, and cooks his own dinner. Nothing fancy, but he makes it the way he likes it. After dinner, he doesn’t go out to a nightclub, because he can’t afford it. Instead, he picks up his old guitar, which he enjoys playing, when he has the time and energy. Since it was an easy day at work, he has some time and energy, so he has a good time playing the guitar, forgets about his money problems for a while, and maybe even teaches himself a new song. Then he relaxes a bit, reads one of the books he checked-out of the library, until he gets too tired to read, and then goes to bed.

lets go to bed

The next day, he wakes up, makes his own breakfast, and goes back to work, hoping he’ll have a little more business. Let’s imagine that on this particular day, he gets a big contract. I mean, an enormous new contract. Suddenly, this businessman is swamped with work, but his money problems are over.

no more money problems

He realizes he needs help. That means he needs to put up a sign, place some want ads, answer calls, conduct interviews, file paperwork, set up accounts, buy a time-clock, and train new workers. Then he needs to order more stock, buy new machines, and put an addition on his shop. So he gets right to work, and by the time he finishes working for the day, it’s already 9:00pm. He goes home, exhausted, orders a pizza, and falls asleep in front of the TV. He feels a little queezy after that pizza, but he chalks it up to the excitement of this life changing day.

just another day

The next morning, he gets up early, grabs a breakfast sandwich and coffee, which he consumes at his desk. It’s not great, but he ignores his disappointment because he’s got more important things to think about. Instead of lunch, he grabs a candy bar from a vending machine, and again, eats it at his desk, between interviews. His phone never stops ringing, and instead of knocking off at 3pm, he doesn’t get out of the office until 9. When he gets home, he orders another pizza, and eats it in front of the tube.

eating pizza in front of the TV

After a few weeks of this, he realizes that he’s drinking four cups of coffee a day instead of one, because he constantly feels run-down, but the caffeine makes it hard for him to get to sleep at night, so he has a few beers with his pizza. After a few months, he realizes he’s gaining weight, so he joins a gym, and orders some home exercise equipment he saw advertised on TV, but he’s too exhausted to exercise or go to the gym, and instead, decides that he needs to improve his diet.

gaining weight

He starts looking for restaurants that serve healthier food. Turns out they charge more money for it too, but he happily pays it. Instead of drinking four cups of drip coffee, he has a vente double cappuccino. He stops drinking beer, and becomes a fine wine enthusiast. Still, the money comes in faster than he can spend it. He commissions a master luthier to build him the guitar of his dreams. When it arrives, he realizes that he no longer has callouses on his fingertips, and he doesn’t have time to play it.

custom guitar

He still feels run-down, and has a vague sense that he’s not taking very good care of himself, so he buys himself a brand new luxury car with all of the amenities. This makes his employees jealous, because they cannot afford such extravagant wheels. They now feel exploited, and so they start asking for raises. They no longer see him as the hardest working member of the team, but as the boss who gets rich off of their hard work.

wealth asshole

Do you see a pattern here? Obviously this successful man deserves the money he’s making. He’s sacrificing his life for it. Clearly, we should view this successful businessman as a role model for the kind of job creator and consumer who drives economic growth That doesn’t mean he’s doing himself, or anyone else, any favors. In fact, he’s killing himself, and he’s killing himself, in part, because it’s the only relief he now sees from a life of too much work.

kill yourself working

That’s what economic growth does to us. For the economy to grow, we have to work more, and spend more, every year. Believe it or not, we’ve got better things to do. You might not remember what they are, because you’ve been a slave for so long, but really, you’ve got better things to do than feed your one lifetime to the goddamn economy.

better things to do

Too much money and too much work are much worse for people than too little. The black-market marijuana industry may have solved our money problems, but it has ruined the quality of our lives, weakened our community, and it continues to consume people, littering our streets with more of their broken husks every day. We don’t owe drug dealers anything, and we owe the economy even less. We deserve better, and it’s time we demanded it.

we deserve better


Star Trek Predicted, Mr. Spock Inspired

StarTrekCast

We all mourn the passing of actor, photographer, and singer, Leonard Nimoy. But let’s face it. Were it not for a single role he played, on a short lived TV show from the ’60s, most of us wouldn’t give a rats ass about Leonard Nimoy.

leonard nimoy piano

Mr. Spock, however, the eminently logical, half-alien, science officer of the Starship Enterprise became a role model for a whole generation of emotionally distant men, and Star Trek’s vision of a bright, high-tech future captured our imagination and defined our aspirations as a culture.

spock live long and prosper

Star trek provided us with a vision of the future that we could look forward to. We had solved all of our Earthly problems, managed to have friendly, cooperative relations with thousands of other civilized high-tech cultures from far-flung galaxies. We had plenty of resources, and the technology, to send 5,000 young people into deep space on a giant spacecraft capable of traveling several times the speed of light, just to see what kind of trouble they could get into.

star trek USS_Enterprise_(NCC-1701)

Star Trek showed us that we could go anywhere in the galaxy, at any time of year, and we didn’t even need to bring a sweater.

star trek landing party

Star Trek taught us that the universe was full of intelligent alien species who were, inexplicably, sexually compatible with humans, and spoke English, and Star Trek demonstrated how hairspray had become ubiquitous throughout the cosmos.

star trek alien women-tile

It’s an attractive fantasy, but a fantasy nonetheless. Today, in honor of the, by all accounts, warm, loving, and emotionally secure Leonard Nimoy, who, through his timeless portrayal of Mr. Spock, inspired so many naïve young men to become lonely sociopaths, we look back at Star Trek to see just how well it predicted the future. For instance:

spock generation of sociopaths

Star Trek correctly predicted that we would have wireless communication devices that fit in the palm of our hands. They had these devices in Star Trek, yet somehow, they did not play with them all day.

star trek kirk communicator

Star Trek correctly predicted that we would talk to our computers. However, on Star Trek, the computer understands what they say, and responds. We mostly just curse at our machines when they crash.

spocks computer

Star Trek correctly predicted that we would all wear ugly polyester uniforms.

star trek shore-leave

Star Trek could not have predicted how we look in them.

fat person in polyester

Star Trek correctly predicted that we’d always be at work. You never see anyone wearing civies on the Enterprise. They’re always in uniform, and they’re always on duty. Get used to it America.

overworked employee

Star Trek correctly predicted that, women would have to wear mini skirts to work, and take orders from an asshole like William Shatner, if they want to earn a living. Who would have imagined?

star trek kirk uhura

Star Trek correctly predicted that doctors would have better things to do than see patients. Look, doctors are the only people who can afford to do what they want in this society. If you could afford to do whatever you wanted to do, would you choose to preside over an endless parade of sick people complaining about their illnesses. Fuck no! You’d be like, “Gimme a phaser, Jim, and let’s go check out the local action.”

star trek spock mccoy guns

Star Trek correctly predicted that everyone would be single. I believe that Mr. Spock’s parents were the only married couple ever depicted on the show. Other than that, everyone in the show was single. Today, for the first time ever, more American adults are single, than in a committed relationship, yet oddly….

star trek spocks parents

Star Trek correctly predicted that no one would have sex. In Star Trek, it’s like everyone is so impressed with their own intelligence and sense of purpose that they’ve lost all connection with their genitalia. Maybe “getting fixed” is a prerequisite for admission to Starfleet Acadamy, but a crewman on the USS Enterprise is at least 20 times more likely to be killed by hostile aliens than get laid. I’m afraid that’s true of most of my friends as well.

Star-Trek crew

Star Trek correctly predicted that in the future no one would cook. On Star Trek you never see a kitchen. Instead, they take a lump of inedible inorganic material, put it on a plate, and place it inside of a high-tech box for a few seconds.

star trek food synthesizer

Miraculously it comes out looking something like food. Yes, Star Trek predicted Hot Pockets.

star trek hot pockets

As you can plainly see, a lot of things that looked cool on Star Trek, kinda suck in real life. If you think about it, a cheesy sci-fi TV show is a pretty stupid thing to build a cultural mythology around, but its a pretty stupid culture, or as Mr. Spock would say, “Highly illogical.”

spock highly illogical


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

danielquinn

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 www.kmud.org

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


I Weigh-In on the Humboldt County DA Race

scales_of_justice

Everyone should already know that justice is a joke here in Humboldt County, so I thought a look at this year’s crop of District Attorney candidates might be good for a laugh. Personally, I’m just glad to see our current D. A. Paul Gallegos step down. Hand-picked, and financed by Humboldt County’s dope yuppies, Paul Gallegos seems like the kind of D. A. that organized crime would support.

capitalism-is-organized-crime

Paul Gallegos always struck me as a showboat. Whenever I saw Paul Gallegos in the halls of the county courthouse, I expected to see a camera crew following him around. He always dressed “to the nines,” bearing this feckless expression that makes him look like they hired him to fill the suit. He looks more like a TV anchorman than a District Attorney. I have no idea whether he’s any good at his job, but I doubt that he is, because I don’t trust anyone who devotes that much energy to their appearance.

gallegos-

No, the County of Humboldt has never charged me with a crime, so I have no experience with the criminal justice system here, but I do enjoy a good civil lawsuit every once in a while. As a result, I spent a fair amount of time at the county courthouse in Eureka back when all of the current candidates haunted it’s hallowed halls. Lawyers do more of their work in the hallways of the courthouse, than they do in actual courtrooms, so I had the opportunity to watch them all, in action.

Humbolt-County-Courthou

Visiting the county courthouse always reminds me of why I live in the country: florescent lights, tile floors, people who smell like dryer sheets, people who just smell, women wearing make-up and high-heels, men wearing dry-cleaned suits, cops, and an endless parade of humanity who go there to have their souls crushed. No one looks happy. No one looks healthy. No one looks like they want to be there. “This is what civilization is all about,” I remind myself, “an oppressive, artificial environment full of bad vibes.”

bad vibes

I pity the people who work in that environment, especially the clerks, secretaries, and court reporters, but also the commissioners, officers and department heads who work in all of the county offices, and even the lawyers, prosecutors, judges and County Supervisors. A lot of people would call those good, high-paying jobs, or at least relatively secure jobs with decent benefits, but go to the courthouse and look into their eyes. Do these people look happy to you? In the long run, how and where you spend your day matters a hell of a lot more than how much money you make, and security = death.

security

Good-looking people are few and far between at the courthouse. Interns and entry-level office help tend to look the best, but they go downhill fast in that environment. In that environment, the eyes grow hungry for a pleasing form, and anything less than grotesque will do. In the courthouse, Elan Firpo looks pretty good.

elan firpo cu

Anywhere else, she’s just another mom in a minivan, but if the D. A.’s race were a beauty contest, Elan Firpo would win, hands down.

beauty pageant

Here in SoHum, Elan Firpo seems to be winning the yard sign vote, and the Firpo signs seem to occupy the same places that previously sported Gallegos signs. In an area so dependent on criminal activity, it seems that many people around here prefer an ornamental District Attorney.

sexy D A

Personally, I wouldn’t vote for an attractive D. A. Jobs don’t come any uglier than that of District Attorney. The D. A. deals with murderers, rapists, child molesters, wife beaters, and every other low-life sleaze-ball in the county, and needs to know every little detail of their grisly crimes. Being immersed like that, in the worst of the worst, takes it’s toll. A few years of that could turn Elle McFerson into Angela Merkle. No one wants to see that happen to a pretty face.

Humboldt County DA  before after

I’m not saying that a woman couldn’t handle the D. A. position, or that Elan Firpo is not qualified for the job; I’m saying that no one should take the job of D. A. unless they’re already ugly, and have proven that they know how to handle it.

got ugly

I don’t remember what Maggie Fleming looks like, but with over 120 jury trials under her belt, I can imagine. Maggie Fleming also gets points with me for her writing. Of the three candidates who managed to get a blurb in my sample ballot, Maggie Fleming did the best job of writing hers.

maggie-flemming looks too good

I don’t think well of people who can’t write. I figure that if you can’t write well, you probably don’t think very well either. I imagine that writing skills, knowing how to convey information clearly, articulately, and gracefully, helps greatly when presenting a case before the jury, and I’ll bet Maggie Fleming does a great job of that.

maggie-fleming smile

I’ve seen a few of Maggie Fleming’s signs, mostly on property belonging to “old money,” the ranchers, descendents of the original settlers, and the people who made Roger Rodoni an unbeatable force for so many years. Although these days, I feel nostalgic for our old cowboy County Supervisor, I still don’t trust the political machine that got him elected.

rodoni zombie dead

I’m suspicious of Allan Dollison for other reasons. I don’t know why, but every time I see Allan Dollison, he reminds me of someone involved in the JFK assassination. I don’t know whether he looks like someone in the Zapruder Film, someone on the Warren Commission or maybe one of the actors in the Oliver Stone movie, but he always reminds me of the assassination of President John F Kennedy. I know that President Kennedy was long dead before Allan Dollison was even born, but I still don’t trust him.

JFK allan dollison

Allan Dollison is proud to have served in the Iraq War. No one should be proud to have served in the Iraq War. I realize that people take pride in serving their country, and that the military builds certain skills, but the Iraq War was the biggest crime against humanity of the 21st Century, at least so far. Participating in it is nothing to be proud of. Allan Dollison promises to shake up the D. A.’s office, but I just can’t get behind an admitted war criminal with connections to the JFK assassination.

allan dollison-grassy knoll

Which brings me to the fourth, final, and my personal favorite candidate for District Attorney, based on my personal experience at the courthouse, Arnie Klein. If you think of the 2nd floor of the county courthouse as a coral reef ecosystem: lawyers are dolphins, their clients are tuna, and the court reporters, clerks, and secretaries are angelfish. In this scenario, the judges would be large groupers, each ensconced in their own little cave, while the cops are barracudas constantly circling the scene. The criminal defendants, on the other hand, are just chum. If you imagine the Humboldt County courthouse that way, Arnie Klein was the big shark.

big_shark_

In reality, the courthouse is nothing like a coral reef ecosystem. There’s nothing natural about a courthouse, and nothing about it nourishes life. Quite the contrary. The courthouse is a place of dispute, violation, and punishment, and it consumes the lives of those who inhabit it.

consume your life

You can immediately see what working at the courthouse has done to Armie Klein’s face. The guy has more wrinkles than a relief map of the King Range.  Arnie Klein doesn’t just look like he’s been to hell and back, he looks like that’s his daily commute. That’s what a District Attorney should look like.

arnie klein wrinkles

I understand that Arnie Klein has been sick. That doesn’t surprise me a bit. If he gets the D. A. job, I bet it will kill him. That’s OK. Arnie Klein probably wishes he were dead already, and his family has got to be sick of looking at him.

arnies-retirement family1

From watching Arnie Klein in action, it became clear to me that he loved his job, and was very good at it, despite the toll it took on him. Arnie clearly belongs at the courthouse. When he dies, they should stuff him and mount him on a pedestal in the hallway on the second floor.

arnie klein memorial

I can’t tell you about Arnie’s writing ability, because he failed to get a blurb in my sample ballot. I had to look for his ad in Savage Henry to make sure I spelled his name correctly. Apparently, Arnie believes he can win the D. A.’s race solely on the strength of his popularity with illiterates. That might seem like a bold strategy, but not that many people in Humboldt County read, and those that do, tend to ask embarrassing questions, so it’s best to ignore them anyway.

we cant read

After hearing him on Ed Denson’s KMUD radio show, I worry that Arnie Klein has more personality and charisma than the entire Board of Supervisors put together. He might be able to rally enough public support to pressure the supervisors to pump up his budget, at the expense of social programs for the poor. Social programs, even the few that remain, do far more to protect the property owning public than any amount of money spent on new Deputy D. A.s. I’m sure Arnie doesn’t see it that way, but don’t forget, Arnie is a shark, and all he sees is chum.

pardon chum

Well, chum, that’s my take on the 2014 Humboldt County District Attorney’s race.

D As race


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