Animal Farm: The Musical

Political animals068Are Americans fed up with the BS from the usual suspects? In Kansas, an independent is giving an incumbent Republican Senator a real run for his money. Neo-libertarian/Republican Rand Paul is making inroads with minority and younger voters. In California, the Republican brand is in danger of becoming the third party behind Democrats and independents. The far left is threatening to challenge the Clinton juggernaut in 2016.

Whichever party wins the midterm madness will be on the hotseat to perform. Given that neither will be able to override or give in to the other, forward movement seems unlikely. Considering the price of a ticket to this gig, the public deserves to see a ballet, not a slam-dance.

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Another Opportunity Up in Smoke

According to comments on Facebook, the proposed pot grower sitcom, Grass Valley, will not be called Grass Valley and will not be set in Nevada County, to the relief of some and the dismay of others. We have tuned in, turned on and dropped out.

Mister Wilson

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Debatable (Updated 11:30am)

Weed013I attended the Measure “S” debate held by the League of Women Voters last night. Turn out was sparse. The disappointing numbers may be traced to several factors…

a)  The Giants/Cardinals game

b) Growers busy with harvest/trimming

c) Growers/users paranoia of being profiled by Sheriffs at Rood Center.

d) Guarding campaign signs from opposition thieves

e) Just forgot

Take your pick. And don’t forget to vote!!

Marijuana PosterUPDATE: In my previous post, “The ‘S’ Mess”, I mentioned a poster I saw in Atlanta, Georgia back in 1972. This is it, although my failing memory remembered it with a Mary J leaf instead of the big “A”.

And wonder of wonders…Jeff P. is reporting that there is a movie being made about our local drug culture called (of all things) GRASS VALLEY!!! (see comments for link.)

It will be interesting to see how the tourist industry/ERC  plays this one!


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Our Aging Population

Aging Population736

Posted in History, Local | 12 Comments

Sugar Magnolia

Back in the nineties, Kitchen Sink Press made a deal with the Grateful Dead to produce a color comic book chronicling their music and adventures. It seemed like a natural fit, given that Dead art was a big part of the “experience.” So I was thrilled when editor Dave Schreiner tracked me down in a garage in suburban Washington and asked me if I wanted to contribute. I was even more excited when he sent me the list of songs that had yet to be spoken for and I saw that Sugar Magnolia was available. Here are a few pages of my effort. (Color by Marcus David.)

Sugar Magnolia722 Sugar Mag II723Unfortunately, there was a snag in the new arrangement. Kitchen Sink had planned on making most of their sales at Dead concerts, but for some reason it was not allowed. The series ended after six issues. I’m still glad I got to be a part of the Grateful Dead legacy.

Posted in Culture, History | 4 Comments

Brit Journalism 101

Muslim Spiders

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Trees Again

Duplex Planet is a magazine consisting of stories from the residents of nursing homes in New York state transcribed by David Greenberger. Some of the stories are whimsical, some are sad, all are a glimpse into a world that is fast disappearing. In the early 90’s, Fantagraphics Books did a series of comics illustrating some of those stories and I was privileged to be included…

Trees Again725

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Night Of The Blood Moon


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Yelling Fire In A Crowded Forest

Rural Quality Man715This cartoon ran in The Union and a few other publications over ten years ago, during the height of the Natural Heritage 2020 debate. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the “evil logger” mantra from the left, and the case for clearcutting from supporters of Sierra Pacific Industries. The end result was a stalemate that has left the Sierra more vulnerable than ever from the threat of catastrophic fires, the King Fire in Placer and El Dorado Counties being the latest example.

Also, in recent years I’ve heard from many friends that their homeowners insurance has either been canceled or the rates have risen dramatically. Add in another $150 “fire tax” from the state and you have to wonder if there is a concerted effort to rid rural California of the human presence, except for those who can afford it.

Yeah, I know it sounds like tinfoil hat material; another reason to label me as some right wing lunatic because I refuse to toe the party line and I have been known to associate with suspicious Tea Party characters. My bad. And it doesn’t help when I mock my liberal friends when they tout such publications as The San Francisco Chronicle for noticing there’s a problem and that maybe we ought to do something about it. Ya think? We’ve been shouting it for thirty-odd years!

So right away there’s talk of studies and environmental impact reports and here we go again…How many more years will it take to reach a consensus? But then I knew that ten years ago. That’s why I ended the strip with the caveat; “to be continued.”

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The “S” Mess

Weed013There’s a lot of friction in Nevada County this fall, and it all revolves around the medical marijuana (MMJ) initiative (Measure “S”) on the November ballot. You would think that after eighteen years most of the bugs would have been fixed, but then you have to realize that we are in California.

When originally approved by voters, the law was intentionally vague enough to be amended as circumstances arose. The legislature passed the buck off to the local jurisdictions. That in itself is amazing. This is a state where you have to get a certificate to get a job as a dishwasher, but you can grow medicine in your backyard without any kind of license or permit other than a prescription from a doctor. No testing for quality control or dosage. It’s up to the patient to determine how much to ingest and in what form to ingest it.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. We could all do without more government meddling, but products such as concentrated honey oil and edible confections should be consumed with care. Long before the current disagreement, the cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City rejected the idea of dispensaries within their boundaries, and growing is a no-no.

So all the gardens are located in suburbia, on private land or the national forests and state parks. People who moved to the country to escape the ills of civilization find strange people moving in next door with guns and dogs and razor wire on the fences. Hikers and hunters fear running across illegal grows in the deep woods. Mexican cartels have found it easier to grow where the customers live. (Some people accuse me of racism for that claim, but when you find a deserted camp well stocked with tortillas and beans you can pretty much figure its not Norwegians. Should I call them undocumented grows rather than illegal ones?)

Cas Crop676

This area has had a rep for Mary J for forty-odd years. In 1972, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia with my pals Charlie and Doc. When we arrived we landed on Peachtree Street, the Haight Ashbury of Atlanta. While I was wandering around a head shop, I noticed a poster on the wall. It was a picture of a burlap sack with a big marijuana leaf on the label. At the bottom it said “Grass Valley, California.” It actually took a few more years before MJ would become a major crop in Nevada County, but we did have the climate and open space required. And yes, marijuana helped more than a few businesses survive the malaise of the late seventies, and kickstarted a few more in the eighties.

Lost in all this are the folks who are really trying to make MMJ work, and those whose pain and suffering are soothed by the magic plant. The possibilities for new treatments are many, if society can overcome a century of reefer madness. No one knows how many people have legitimately been helped, because no one wants to share the information in the climate created by law enforcement. If a compromise can’t be reached, Big Business is ready to swoop in and corner the market when the hammer falls on individual growers. Are you ready for Monsantajuana plantations?

Proponents are already gearing up for another shot at outright legalization in 2016. My guess is it will pass because the urban folks who consume most of it will vote for it. The rural areas may be another story.



Posted in Culture, Local, Politics | 6 Comments