Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One man's hero is another mans pariah

John Lennon, From Wicipedia
I hope that I’ve waited a respectable time away from the anniversary of Lennon’s death to do this post, December 8th, 1980. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Lennon’s death was a great tragedy. It was once said that “any man’s death diminishes me”, that always seems to be true.

Lennon was the quintessential dreamer. There is nothing like dreaming. Nothing like lighting up a fatty and wishing that the whole world was like him. Unfortunately if we all sat around and smoked a doobie and sang, nobody would have been able to afford to buy Lennon’s recordings. Oh well, it takes all kinds to make a world, "drags" and producers. I see Lennon as a person that the rest of the world dragged to the top.

I’m probably a little bit older than most of the members of Lennon’s fan club, so I see him differently. I graduated high school in 1963. When I was growing up we had no drugs in Southern Humboldt, other than the ones that the doctor gave you. The only illegal drugs that we even knew about was used by the Mexican people that worked on the railroad. We just assumed that they couldn’t afford tobacco. Nobody would lower themselves to smoke marijuana as long as they could afford tobacco.

I was in college in San Francisco when the Beatles became popular. They seemed overly pretentious to me. Everything that they did back then would be called “In your face” today. Back then, the adults didn’t like them at all. They were impudent, arrogant, and they wore their hair long like girls. The sight of them made most adults shudder. That was a sure recipe for the kids to adore them. The Beatles were a way to tell the parents: “Screw you, I’m all grown up now, I’ll like who I want", and "the Beatles reflect all that I’m feeling about my parents and the world right now".

To the children of the sixties, the Beatles were the picture of their rebellion. The name “BEAT”les… get it? The “beat” generation and the “beat”nics were the rebellious group in vogue at the time. Of course, they named themselves for some other reason, but all the kids knew that it was really about the BEAT, and the teenage rebellion.

It wasn’t long before the Beatles were openly experimenting with drugs. The song “Sweet Mary” was about Marijuana. The very-sophisticated Beatles claimed that the song was actually about Sweet Mary and had nothing to do with Marijuana. That gave the children of the day one more thing to laugh behind their hands about; how stupid the grown-ups were… Ha, ha, ha. “They think that Sweet Mary is about Marijuana… Ha, ha, ha. But, all the time they knew, or at least suspected, that it really was about Marijuana.

By the time that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” came out, they had the plausible deniability thing down pat. The Beatles must have been laughing uproariously behind closed doors. The more that they denied that the songs had anything to do with drugs, the more the kids knew that the the songs really did, and the more popular the songs became. Every kid joined in denying that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was about L.S.D. The song was actually about a little girl named “Lucy”. That was often proclaimed, dripping with self-righteous indignation. Ah… but secretly they knew, and parents were easy to fool, because they are dumb.

I learned to drive on the ranch when I was 9 years old. I was driving a water truck watering logging roads when I was 15 years old. Driving was nothing to clown around about on the steep dirt roads in the logging woods. One little mistake and you would most likely die. Needless to say, I took driving very seriously.

I used to race go-carts on a dirt track, My cousin Oregon and I built a water cooled go-cart that had a large outboard motor stripped down to the motor that was tucked neatly behind the drivers seat. It would do 0-80 mph in the same gear. It would literally tear up a dirt track. It would smoke a paved track. The only problem is that we were forced to go fast to get air over the radiator. We got our thrills driving the darn thing. Soon nobody would race us because they didn’t like being humiliated. So, I knew about go-fast racing and skidding around on dirt.

By the time that other kids were just learning to drive, I had all of the danger-danger out of my system, and was only concerned about getting somewhere safely. I didn’t feel the need to test my skills, or experiment on the highway.

I started smoking when I was ten. I got a few lectures from adults about how stupid it was, and if they had one wish it would be that they would NOT be addicted to nicotine. I was unaware of what an addiction was at the time. They assured me that if I kept screwing around with smoking that I would become addicted. I would lose my ability to run, jump, and hike, and all the things that I loved to do. I knew these people well, I trusted them, I believed them, and I quit. I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had continued to smoke tobacco.

When the other kids started to smoke at thirteen and fourteen, they would invite me to go with them and hide somewhere and smoke cigarettes. I would simply say, “been there done that, have fun”. Smoking always seemed a little childish to me, having quit at ten years old. I always have to chuckle when I see a kid smoking a cigarette, boy does it seem dumb. But, you can’t tell some kids anything… It’s part of their rebellion.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I might have grown up a little faster that most kids around me. The fact that I stayed very busy in my youth gave me less time to be bored and get into trouble. My perspective may have been different than my peers.

When we were kids growing up, we were told the things that we couldn’t do because we were too young. “Nope can’t do that, you’re too young”. It seemed like we were too young to do anything that adults liked to do. It was the “do as I say and not as I do generation of parents”. As soon as a kid could sneak a can of beer out of the fridge, they would try it. Some kids thought; “wow that was good”. So kids wondered what else parents were keeping for themselves.  Kids were told that they couldn’t drink alcohol because “it was bad for them”. They were told never to have sex out of marriage because they could get syphilis or worse yet get pregnant.

It seemed like everything that the kids of the sixties were told was “bad for them” was great fun. The sixties turned out to be about “Free Love” because kids found out that sex was fun. They soon learned that drinking alcohol was fun. Then they had the Beatles telling them, wink-nod, that smoking marijuana was great fun. Then the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was implying that LSD was also great fun, and their parents told then that it wasn‘t good for them. So making love, smoking marijuana, and dropping acid turned out to be fabulous fun. The best part is was it was rebellion, and in-their-parents-face. The sixties child was free!

Sadly, some of my friends got caught up in the thrill of the sex drugs and rock and roll way too deeply. I have a few friends that went clear off the deep end. They got tangled up in cocaine. they discovered that they were addicted. Most found their way from cocaine to heroin, to come down softer. Some died laying on the floor in their own puke, unconscious and gasping for breath. Somewhere the fun left the sex drugs and rock and roll.

Many of the big time performers of the sixties got way past their ability to cope. Most people can think of many names of the celebrities that they knew that died of drug O.D.’s… The sad finale of the chapter of fun of using drugs that the Beatles glorified.

It just seemed to me that John Lennon never grew up. He never tired of trying to shock people with his drug use or sexual escapades. He sang songs about how screwed up the world was, and how wonderful it would be if everybody could just get stoned like him. He never followed through to tried to imagine what the world would really be like if everybody was stoned.

So when people all join hands, stand in a circle, and sing the praises of John Lennon, forgive me, but I watch with a certain amount of incredulity. I feel like an Indian on Columbus day. I don’t see John Lennon's life work as anything to celebrate.

I’ve seen the aftermath of the thrill of drugs just to damn many times, someone laying in their own vomit is nothing to be happy about. Some live to do it all over again, and some go back to their maker. I wish that there was some way to connect the young person starting to play with drugs to the pathetic shell of a human dying in their own puke. “Imagine” if young people could do that.

I’m sorry about my cynicism. But, I got to see the whole story. From not knowing a thing about drug use, to the finale episode. Many of you, that came in the middle, may have had enough information to know how to use drugs recreationally and not go too far. I know that most people don’t die from drug use, but many do. Those few that die, remind me that I was told that this would be the result of the Beatles glorification of drugs. Even if it is wrong to think that way, I’m reminded of that every time I see the poor people that got beyond their control. I see the dying shell in the puke, and how damn sad it is. Imagine that.

87 comments:

charlie two crows said...

Ernie; In 63 LSD wasn't even illegal. I graduated in 69 and came to CR. I remember swimming with the (hippies) in the drinking water tanks above CR before they capped them. We only did weed. And we were not influenced by john in any way. I have two sons in humbolt,and they both remind me everyday that there's DRUGS! And then there's WEED! There weren't influenced by john. They both grew up with humbolt acceptance. That's there answer. Now I have a dilemma. I have cancer,and take a nasty kemo. So do I smoke Weed because the kemo says to or because John lennon told me to. Imagine that!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Probably a dumb Question? What is CR?

Thanks!

charlie two crows said...

COLLEGE OF THE REDWOODS. Sorry !

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I went to MJC,about the same time!

Ekovox said...

Very good post, Ernie!

I was born in 1960 and too young to experience the Beatles as a teen. I do remember seeing them on Ed Sullivan, though. I was only 3, but, I do remember it to this day.

I want to make a couple of points. One historically, musically. You said, The naming of the Beatles was about the “beat” generation and the “beat”nics were the rebellious group in vogue at the time....all the kids knew that it was really about the BEAT, and the teenage rebellion.

Actually, the Beatles adored Buddy Holly & The Crickets. Paul McCartney and John Lennon wanted something similar. They were originally, Johnny & The Moondogs. Stuart Sutcliff suggested The Beetles to emulate that. Soon they became The Silver Beatles and then, The Beatles after. It was about a music choice, not as much about Ferlinghetti and that ilk.

From Wikipedia: Beat music, British beat, or Merseybeat (for bands from Liverpool beside the River Mersey), is a rock music genre that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s. Beat music is a fusion of rock and roll, doo wop, skiffle, R&B and soul. The beat movement provided most of the bands responsible for the British invasion of the American pop charts in the period after 1964, and provided the model for many important developments in pop and rock music.

Mind you, John Lennon was a rebel. I will give you that. Look at his leather, Teddy Boy rocker look when they first started in 1957 and in early Hamburg.

But, I am in agreement with you on a great deal of your post. A great deal.

On that day after his death in 1980, I was working at College of the Redwoods as a sound tech. Some of the students wanted to have a noon rally to speak about John Lennon. The administration said no and tried to quell the event. I sneaked out some public address gear onto the cafeteria lawn and let them have at it. Upper heads rolled when that happened. They didn't know who the culprit was who gave them the microphone. But, I thought it was important to let them eulogize the man. Me? Nah.

Blame the Beatles on drug use in America? No, blame the ever changing chaos that is the human condition, itself.

The much larger, more influencial drug is television. But, like any drug you use for recreational escape, be it of the depressant or stimulant order, television has to be used in moderation.

The Beatles would have been nothing without The Ed Sullivan Show and the brainwashing of a generation who followed them.

Remember, it was Bob Dylan who turned them on to marijuana.

And for the record, of all the Beatles, I'm a George Harrison fan.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I want to make it clear that I have no quarrel with the medicinal use of any drug under the supervision of a wise professional, like a doctor. My problem is the people that tell others to try drugs that they have no idea how it might affect them. Like kids trying cocaine.

I do wonder why people will get drunk, or stoned out of their frickin’ minds and try to conduct business. Also, as I say, I wonder how the people that overdose on something got to that point in life. When I see somebody in the throes of death, I can’t ask them how they got that far. Just as the Indian people connect Columbus with the white man coming to America, I connect John Lennon and the Beatles with out of control recreational drug use.

I know full well that the discovery of America was eminent, If Columbus hadn’t found the new world it would have been found anyway. Just as drug use in the sixties would have happened with out the influence of the Beatles, it was eminent. But the Beatles caught and rode the drug bus to fame. Having seen the whole process, my brain makes that connection. Sorry.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ekovox
Thank-you for your great history!

As with everything, I guess you had to have been there. Just as young boys pick up on every little-bitty sexual innuendo, the kids of the sixties turned everything into a drug innuendo. They knew that that the psychedelic music was all about the glory of drugs. They wanted to seem sophisticated. Just as many kids start smoking to seem more sophisticated, many kids used drugs for the experience, and the air of sophistication. With some, it went too far.

Anonymous said...

Its sad to me you see Lennon's life and influence as drug-centered. Thats all you saw? Its easy now to equate the 60s and rock with drugs.
Guess what? Every time has its drugs. Part of the human animal.
But John Lennon used his fame as a voice for peace, at a time when it seemed war was our only answer.
We do not 'celebrate' his drug use.
We celebrate the man, his music, and what he stood for.

Ernie Branscomb said...

No, I saw the great talent that Lennon had, but I don't really think that he did that much for world peace. I think that it was just the mantra that he used. I saw him as a childlike dreamer that got caught up in leading the teenage rebellion of the '60's.

Dave Stancliff said...

I always find it interesting to see peoples preceptions of the same era (age, generation, etc.)can be so wildly different.

It make sense though. It depends where you were raised - urban or rural - the cultutal environment you were raised in, and the fact that two people seeing the same event will usually come away with different perceptions of what happened.

We all make connections growing up, based on societal and sensory experiences. Your connection went in a straight line: you equated drugs and Lennon based upon your personal experiences.

Nothing wrong with that. I graduated from high school in 1968 and was more into groups like Creedence Clearwater, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix. I didn't care for the Beatles in those days. It wasn't until many years later that I started appreciating their music.

Anyway, good read Ernie.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Dave, thanks for commenting. I know what you mean by different people have different perceptions. That's why I tried to "background" myself a little bit. My upbring was FAR from that of a city child.

Most of the groups didn't really glorify the use of drugs like the Beatles. Even some of the people that ODed hid their abuse.

Timothy Leary was also a flagrant advocate for drug use. His mantra was "turn on, tune in, and drop out." A few of my friends did that. I have several friends that dropped out of college and move into obscurity after "turning on". Some even had scholarships. They still say thank-God for LSD... Go Figur'.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie; I'm sorry I went off on a rant with my comment. My sons and ex wife say that you are right and I'm wrong about the beatles


influence on my early life and drug use. My ex reminded me that by the time I was twenty and swore off drugs, that I had tried everything starting with weed. Also the time I was sent home from school for dressing like lennon. Even had the blue round glasses.(They talked to my mom). My self evaluation was totally wrong. My oldest son says I think Indian, look white, and act stupid. Sorry to all your readers. Next time I will take a longer look. Good story E......

Ernie Branscomb said...

Charlie
You can say anything that you want to say here. I usually don't talk bad about somebody, but I really do relate drug use to the Beatles.

I should say that I admire people that speak their mind. You are much to kind to apologize. I should apologize to you for stomping on your hero's toes. There are also many things that I like about Lennon, but this post was about drugs.

Take care old friend.

spyrock said...

Lennon was born in war-time England, on 9 October 1940 at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, to Julia and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman who was away at the time of his son's birth.[1] He was named John Winston Lennon after his paternal grandfather, John "Jack" Lennon, and then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill. five years later, after a heated argument between his parents his father forced the five-year-old to choose between them. Lennon twice chose his father, but as his mother walked away, he began to cry and followed her.[8] It would be 20 years before he had contact with his father again.[9]
On 15 July 1958, when Lennon was 17 years old, his mother, walking home after visiting the Smiths' house, was struck by a car and killed.[24] Once at the college, he started wearing Teddy Boy clothes and acquired a reputation for disrupting classes and ridiculing teachers. As a result, he was excluded from the painting class, then the graphic arts course, and was threatened with expulsion for his behaviour, which included sitting on a nude model's lap during a life drawing class.[26] He failed an annual exam, despite help from fellow student and future wife Cynthia Powell, and was "thrown out of the college before his final year."[27] Lennon grew concerned that fans attending Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band's musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result.[52] Lennon's "Help!" expressed his own feelings in 1965: "I meant it ... It was me singing 'help'".[53] He had put on weight (he would later refer to this as his "Fat Elvis" period),[54] and felt he was subconsciously seeking change.[55] The following January he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by Lennon, Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests' coffee with the drug.[56] When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire: "We were all screaming ... hot and hysterical."[56] In 2010, on what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, by Cynthia and Julian Lennon.[240] The sculpture entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’ exhibits peace symbols and carries the inscription “Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honour of John Lennon 1940–1980”.

just a few facts from wikipedia to go along with the bullshistory. glad to see that someone from ernies generation is responsible for all this drug mess. not that there was alot of weed back in the 50's and 60's in england. there certainly was plenty of alcohol back in the day in jolly ole. but no blame there since it's not a drug. excuse me if i don't want to beat a dead horse, but whatever makes you feel better.

Ben said...

Ernie.. Somehow, I doubt that you were a big Doors fan.

Ben said...

P.S.... Didn't I see you at Reggae on the River?

Ekovox said...

"We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee..We don't take our trips on LSD..."


That was pretty much the idiom when I was growing up in Eastern Humboldt County. And yes, there were tons of Okies living there and working in the woods and mills then. So, Dave Stancliff, you nailed it when you spoke of the rural vs city perspective.

It was the colleges more than anything. After that, it just became a trend...A Huge trend. But then, Disco hit in the late 1970's in New York and it too found it's way to rural Eastern Humboldt County, even though the cocaine scene didn't establish it's self here to any degree.
Budweiser beer was still the drug of choice for most young people.

Anonymous said...

The first time I tried LSD was in beggs OK. Pop. 50, 10miles south of muskogee. Is beggs a city?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Eko
I thought of you today. I took a crew with a video camera to Alderpoint. I told them to take all the video that they liked from th road going over the hill, but to leave their camera in the truck in Aderpoint unless they got the expressed permission from the locals. They did good. The camera stayed in the truck. Go Figur...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:13
if you were within 50 miles of Muskogee and Biggs had a population of 10 you would still be considered in a city. To me anyways.

Oregon

charlie two crows said...

Did he say BUD! Or Budweiser was the drug of choice. I was under the impression that the east humboldt okies owned the plantations.

charlie two crows said...

Did he say BUD! Or Budweiser was the drug of choice? I was under the impression that the east humboldt okies owned the plantations.

Anonymous said...

What happens east of 101 stays east of 101.

charlie two crows said...

Anonymous 10:23 With all do respect to you. I thought the NO SEE-NO SAY policy Went out with the Civil Rights Act. I'm beginning to see what really happened to the south fork indians. It was an east side thing;Okies,Axes,and Budweiser! But wait, doesn't this sound like the woodley island massacre! But I could be wrong?

Robin Shelley said...

Excuse me for interrupting but I need help with something again: my dad wants a v-neck, button-up sweater vest in brown/tan/oatmeal (no blue,grey,green,black or red). Wool or wool-blend is preferrable; not acrylic. I thought this would be easy to find but I was mistaken. Everything I find on the internet is either the wrong color or material, too expensive ($285 for a vest?!!) or no longer available.
Anybody know of a men's store outside of the Eureka mall that might carry such a thing? My husband will be travelling through Humboldt Co. this weekend & is willing to go shopping. I've called around Ukiah & Mendocino & exhausted all possible sources here - even Pendleton.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dang Robin, done'cha have a sewing machine?

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

Knitted, Oregon, & I don't knit.
Ha! Ha!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin
I looked around but I couldn't find any thing on the net. My wife could make one, but I don't think that she has the time.

Buy a sweater, cut the sleeves out, and give your dad the vest, and make the sleeves into socks for your husband.

Robin Shelley said...

Thanks anyway, Ernie. I was hoping someone might know of a store in your area. I'm not familiar with much outside of the Bayshore Mall.

Anonymous said...

Robin, in your first description you did not say anything about knitted, just wool. Get the sewing machine out and modify something as per Ernie's instructions.

Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

The song “Sweet Mary” was about Marijuana. The very-sophisticated Beatles claimed that the song was actually about Sweet Mary and had nothing to do with Marijuana. That gave the children of the day one more thing to laugh behind their hands about; how stupid the grown-ups were… Ha, ha, ha. “They think that Sweet Mary is about Marijuana… Ha, ha, ha. But, all the time they knew, or at least suspected, that it really was about Marijuana.

Very interesting, but I wonder where Ernie got the kind of active imagination that could lead him to fantasizing a non-existent Beatles song to rag on.

Anonymous said...

Julian showed a childhood picture of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, allegedly drawn for his good friend Lucy. Wiki reports that the song was based on this drawing. Donovan, who hung with the Beatles, says he told Julian a story that helped inspire the drawing.

olmanriver said...

Ernie, I have heard, from a man living in Redway at the time, that there was a banner put up over the town of Garberville "requesting" that the "HIPPIES GO HOME".
Can you recall this, and place it in the sixties or seventies?

Ernie Branscomb said...

OMR
I don't know about Redway, but I know for a fact, I saw it, Garberville had a Banner across the road that said "Help clean up Garberville, give a hippie a ride." It was stung across the road at the location in front of the present day Napa Auto Parts, where all of the hitch-hikers thumb rides.

It was placed there by a long dead lineman.

Anonymous said...

My parents went to church, but I skipped to watch the Ed Sullivan show the night the Beatles first appeared on TV. WOW!! I was so hooked.

I was not aware, the Beatles relationship with drugs nor the lyrics reflection of....because I was not raised amongst the drug culture; guess I lived too sheltered a life. I loved to sing along with the Beatles music and have all their albums. I thought they were awesome, fun to watch and listen to. I've never been a drug user with the exception of alcohol or a few cigarettes as a young girl. Years later I realized message behind the lyrics (and my husband was a musician) Naiev, perhaps!!?

Cousin

olmanriver said...

Thanks for confirming the story Ernie.

I didn't care too much for the Beatles til they got away from their young love songs. There was something about the hysterically screaming girlfans that was really weird to me. Strange monkey behavior- I still don't know why people get all worked up to see another human being.
George, the introspective one, was my favorite.
Watching them on Ed Sullivan was cool and historic...but I liked the Dave Clark 5 better and thought they would be bigger stars. Oops.

Seeing Jimi Hendrix in 1967 absolutely led me down the path of drug iniquity, though I haven't made it to puking, except for one time after surgery the docs gave me some of their bad stuff for pain, and I spent the night... Damn pharmaceuticals!

Ernie has some experience with the self-destructiveness of hard drugs that I don't have. I would have demonized alcohol having seen its abuse cause more damage in people's lives. But TV brainwashes people about alcohol... making a drink the choice of sophistication and coolness.
I was going to do a list of movie stars from the 40's, 50's and 60's who I have seen mindlessly reaching, or offered for a drink everytime there was an emotional upset. The stuff this culture takes for granted, being so booze saturated, is disgusting.
Pot has a long way to go til the media gives it equal footing as a recreational substance. Maybe someday in the future there will be movies where the working partner returns home and is met at the door by the domestic partner who offers them their slippers and a pipe, but no martini.
It's a wonder I survived all that black and white movie alcohol brainwashing.

suzy blah blah said...

there was a banner put up over the town of Garberville "requesting" that the "HIPPIES GO HOME".

LOL! Another interesting piece of bullshistory, one of those events that never happened except in some old timer's fantasy life.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ha, Ha, Suzy. I got you this time. I saw the Garberville sign with my very own young clear eyes. I wasn't stoned, plowed on acid, ten feet tall on LSD or anything. Believe-it-or-not I was even sober.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Actually there was more that one banner placed in Garberville suggesting hippies weren't welcome.

Garberville was big on banners in the fifties and sixties. We had many poles in town. We strung Christmas lights and decorations across the street, and banners proclaiming "Merry Christmas". We also had a banner announcing the Rodeo in June.

Banners were plentiful, rules were scarce.

suzy blah blah said...

Yep you got me alright Ernie. Sure you saw it. I believe that one just like I believe the one you made up about the Beatle's song Sweet Mary. LOL! but that's okay, I accept that that's just the way these things go around here, someone says that they should have put up a banner telling the hippys to go home, "that woulda showed em". LOL! Then every year at the Rotarian's potluck the story gets embellished til before you know it they're saying it really happened. And I'm sure there's some old-timers that have told it so many times that they probably believe it did.

charlie two crows said...

I tried to get the sub-standard paper to cough up a pix of the banner. I remember they did a story about it back then. The standard said pix is lost to history. Sorry

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Charlie
I don't remember what was in the paper, but I know several other people that were there and saw it.

Anonymous said...

I saw it.

Oregon

suzy blah blah said...

Charlie and Oregon, you have good memory. Maybe one of you can relate some of the lyrics to that Beatle's song, Sweet Mary, that Ernie informed us debauched the innocent and vulnerable youth of America back then.

charlie two crows said...

Suzy; the memory you should be checking is ernie's. In his mason jar anthology of john lennon, he never said sweet mary was a beatles song, written or recorded by them. He may be referring to the 1971 hit by a group named wadsworth mansion from the us released on an english label. The LSD song ernie referred to is really a little richard song stolen by lennon . With all do respect suzy, you need to find out if ernies ref.s Were wicopedia or weegee board. May be he turned the white album backwards and heard (sweet mary) ask him suzy I'm dying to know.

suzy blah blah said...

Charlie, I didn't think you were so stupid. I'll let you and Ernie work it out yourselves as to the origin of the song. I don't really have time to for such silly questions anymore. I have other things to do now. I was up all night under the moon and the moon/sun alignment opened up a portal that I was able to traverse. I received much new information about 2012 which I brought back and soon will be disseminating to the people.

blessings,
s

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay, Okay... I had the wrong song, but you knew that. Delete "Sweet Mary", insert "let it be"


Songwriters: Lennon, John Winston; Mccartney, James Paul


When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Yeah, There will be an answer, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
(instrumental break)

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me.
Shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be no sorrow, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be. hoooo' hoooo'


I especially liked the Hoooooo' Hoooooo part.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I find it amazing that I am the only one that connects drug use to the Beatles. As I say, the only way that I can understand the mass blindness toward the Beatles is the fact that the the people that don't believe that the Beatles glorified drugs is, they weren't here before drug use hit Southern Humboldt.

olmanriver said...

Good grief, Mary was Paul's mother's name, who came to him in a dream at a time of difficulty in his life....hence the song.
We get that you feel strongly about early drug use in the area, but your Lennon research is a bit weak.
I think it was John's older sisters, cavorting on the Lawrence Welk show in those chiffon dresses, who sang "Kisses Sweeter than Wine"... va va voom! Now we are talking about influencing susceptible kids. Hubba hubba.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Just like teenage boys think everything is about sex, the children of the sixties thought that everything was about drugs. One line that I used was supposed to make that clear-

“Ha, ha, ha. But, all the time they knew, or at least suspected, that it really was about Marijuana.”

Arguing that there wasn’t “drug innuendo” in the sixties is ludicrous! It didn’t make any difference what was said, it was assumed by many to be about drugs. I was there, I saw it. I don’t know where the heck that you deniers were, but you sure a heck weren’t paying attention if you think that drug innuendo wasn’t rampant. I also suspect that The Beatles played into that hand.

I will never understand why everybody feels the need to protect their favorite “High”. You can’t even mention marijuana without everybody pointing out the evils of alcohol. The real problem is when, drugs or alcohol are being abused.

Alcohol prevents heart and circulatory problems. Can MJ do that? I see no problem with a person drinking ONE beer in the evening. I see no problem with a person smoking one joint in the evening. But, I see people reeking of MJ early in the morning. Why is it if someone is drunk in the morning they are “alcoholics”, but if they are stoned they are “on medication”.

I still see the ludicrous connection to drugs in weirdest places. The number 420 has become the latest buzz word for drugs. You can't even say “420” without people snickering behind there hands… “Giggle, he said 420 ha, ha, ha.”. Now, I know that 420 has no real connection to drugs but it is at least AS connected to drugs as I see the Beatles being connected. Get it???

Anonymous said...

I saw on the History channel the other day that pot was was spelled marihuana back in the 30's. Did the reporters of the day not know how to spell or is it another case of the new age of changing names and,or, spellings?
By the way I see no problem with drinking a 6-pak in the evenings.
Some folks eat crabs and mushrooms and claim it is okay but point a poison finger at someone that likes more than one beer or bottle of wine in the evenings.
Personally, I think Wild Turkey and bacon makes for a dang good breakfast!

Oregon

Bunny said...

Ernie, If I wasn't so busy retailing I would take you on. I'm not even reading everything, just snippets when I sneak back into the office. You are so wrong. We can get into that after Christmas. What BS about Let it Be. Geez Ernie.

bunny said...

420 is relative to Pot. No other drugs. 420 is pot. Oh I wish I had time for you right now.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Bunny
First read the whole post CAREFULLY, then tell me that you lived in a place that had absolutely NO illegal drug use, and then explain what caused the transition from NO drug use, to rampant drug use. I did. It didn't just happen, there must have been a clue that drugs were fun. where did that clue come from?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Bunny. read the whole comment.

suzy blah blah said...

River, I dont' wanna bring you down or anytning but not only did the Lawrence Welk show glorify wine, they also glorified marijuana! The songs may've not been about pot, but everybody knew that they actually were about pot, even though they weren't. Be careful.

oxxxxxxxxxxxo,
s

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ah, come on Suzy, Give me a break. Everybody that lived around here back when Lawrence Welk was popular knew that the Welk Show wasn't about DRUGS! It was about sex! My God did you see them Lennon sisters? Every young guy had a favorite. Kathy was mine.

Did you know that the Lennon Sisters were born in LA? And, they had Mexican ancestry? Hot Chili Mammas! Sexy!

Ernie Branscomb said...

The Lennon Sisters





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Ernie Branscomb said...

Suzy
I loved your link to Lawrence Welk does the Beatles. But, it does prove my point about what a corrupting influence the Beatles were. They even corrupted the pure sweet innocent people on the Welk show!

olmanriver said...

Kathy was MINE, ALL MINE, Ernie the lesser, even if you did see her first! And it was because she had the purest vocal tones. It was like she was singing to me and me alone... how she could yodel. Sigh.
(Note; my therapist thinks that it was this early exposure to the syllables high and lay in their yodeling that led to..... well, my college years)

Thanks Suzy, these drug messages are so subliminalically subtle, it's like years later you get what you didn't get then, except that you were getting it, you just didn't know it, then.

When I think of how shamelessly my parents watched this show in front of the kids.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie......Pick up the Feb. Copy of High Times and turn to page 30 Read the article; Imagine if John lennon had lived. By Paul Krassner. He explains johns use of drugs and why. I'm sure you can find a copy in YOUR town ernie. I had a therapist also, I was 12, she was 13 and she schooled me. Olman does yours? And all this about the lennon sisters, I did call my therapist kathy one night by mistake. She didn't hear me. She was in that moonlite alterworld that suzy was talking about. Oh the memory!

spyrock said...

The lyrics for "Puff, the Magic Dragon" were based on a 1959 poem by Leonard Lipton, a 19-year-old Cornell University student.[1] Lipton was inspired by an Ogden Nash poem titled "Custard the Dragon", about a "realio, trulio little pet dragon."

Lipton was friends with Peter Yarrow's housemate when they were all students at Cornell. He used Yarrow's typewriter to get the poem out of his head. He then forgot about it until years later, when a friend called and told him Yarrow was looking for him, to give him credit for the lyrics. On making contact Yarrow gave Lipton half the songwriting credit, and he still gets royalties from the song.

In an effort to be gender-neutral, Yarrow now sings the line "A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys" as "A dragon lives forever, but not so girls and boys." The original poem also had a verse that did not make it into the song. In it, Puff found another child and played with him after returning. Neither Yarrow nor Lipton remember the verse in any detail, and the paper that was left in Yarrow's typewriter in 1958 has since been lost.[2]

In 1961, Yarrow joined Paul Stookey and Mary Travers to form Peter, Paul and Mary. The group incorporated the song into their live performances before recording it in 1962; their 1962 recording of "Puff" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and spent two weeks atop the Billboard easy listening chart in early 1963.[3]

The lyrics tell a story of the ageless dragon Puff and his playmate Jackie Paper, a little boy who grows up and loses interest in the imaginary adventures of childhood and leaves Puff alone and depressed. The story of the song takes place "by the sea" in the fictional land of Honalee.

everybody knows that peter paul and mary as in maryjane were the ones who hooked everyone on pot with the puff song. i know this for a fact because i went to school with a guy from the bay area who was a deejay who was the first person to play puff the magic dragon on his folk music deejay radio show in the bay area.
he bragged about this to me in 1965 before there were any hippies on haight street.
my 80 year old ex mother in law or any brit that lived through the bombing of london during world war 11 will tell you that americans don't know what it's like to be in a real war. her politics are exactly the same as lennon. she doesn't smoke pot but does brandy and water every night, tonight with me. if you ever went to england you would know that half the british love us and the other half hate us. lennon was obviously in the latter half although he did like new york which was his downfall.
i agree with ernie that john lennon was a puff but he jumped on the bandwagon in his old age that was jump started by that old commie trio peter paul and mary.

suzy blah blah said...

Ernie, have you checked out what that decadent Frank Zappa had to say about drugs. I would've liked to be a fly on the wall listening to a conversation between you two over coffee.

huggles ,
s

Anonymous said...

I knew this guy that had a big, lifted pick-up in Laytonville and his mom told me that he really loved that truck, she could tell because he would clean on it for days without stopping. I think he spent over 24 hours just cleaning the starter with a tooth brush one time.
I was talking to the owner of the bar in Greenville one time about detailing cars and this guy sitting down the way a bit said he used to be good at detailing then he was sent to rehab.

Oregon

CeeDub said...

“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can't remember what they are.”
Matt Lauer

CeeDub said...

“They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.”
Bill Hicks

CeeDub said...

Last Quote-

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

When The Beatles came out it was like a bullhorn calling out to all those kids living in that time of oppression, segregation, and hate to WAKE UP! You don't have to be your parents. You can be someone different. You don't always have to live by the rules. They were wild, DIFFERENT than the norm and non-apologetic about it.

That's why those parents, religious freaks, and the hierarchy were so offended by them. It was CHANGE! People....especially old people can't stand change, and it was a huge one, back then. I imagine it was a lot like when Hippies came to Garberville, or when Growers started outnumbering Old-Timers. "damn stupid monster truck!"

I believe The Beatles/John Lennon were bigger than the whole drug situation. That was just the negative spin put on them by right wing crackpots who just wanted to tear them down to keep change from happening.

There was a force behind them. A spiritual force in them and their music. Pot was and is an enhancer of the feeling of the message in their music, which was LOVE. Something this world needs now. We need another change of that magnitude now John willing.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks CeeDub
I always thought that there would be a wide open opportunity for a comedian to do an act where he was totally stoned and tried to pretend that he was functional. Kinda' like a stoner twist on Foster Brooks' drunk act.

Usually just asking a stoner what his name is will hang him up for a few minutes. You can see him wonder, "why do they want my name? should I tell them? Don't I have a right to privacy? Should I make one up? Usually they get tired of thinking and just tell you their name.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie, This goes along with the banner story. Do you remember when the national guard used live 50cal ammo to scare off hippies at the old stop light on 101 by HSU? Suzy won't believe that story either. And all the stores downtown that would let hippies in there stores. True I was there and saw it. Much worse than a banner. Ernie don't you remember? Tell suzy how it really was!!!!!!!

suzy blah blah said...

Charlie, I was just joking about not believing there were anti hippy banners in Gville, just trying to tease Ernie a little about his memory of John Lennon's song Sweet Mary. Forgive me if Suzy nudged your button. Of course I believe there were banners of that sort, why shouldn't I? LOL! I never heard the one about the National Guard though. Thanks for telling it. btw, what's 50cal ammo?

sorry,
s

Ernie Branscomb said...

Charlie
Suzy has been known to like to stir things up sometimes. I dabble in controversy, but Suzy is much smarter than all of us. I try not to flinch too fast when she makes a comment. Sometimes I bite hook-line-and-sinker, then I wish I had just been quite.

Warning, I bet she also knows what 50cal ammo is!

The thing that most people don't realize is the emotional tension between the Hippie free love and peace crowd, and the high moral standard redneck crowd. It was a time of much tension. We had the Viet Nam war, peace marches, and they had just mowed down a student riot in Mexico with 50cal guns and ammo. Some of the U.S.citizens proclaimed that was they way to handle a riot. It was also a time when the military actually did fire on a crowd of students at Kent State in Ohio.

I think that you had to have been there to understand the tension.

suzy blah blah said...

but Suzy is much smarter than all of us.

-another example of the flippant and sarcastic sick humor that comes from the dark and threatening subjective delusions of uncle Ernie's hallucin&tory/fantasy world.

charlie two crows said...

Ernie...... My PSA is <0.1. Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!

olmanriver said...

Really wonderful news Charlie 2 crows! A specially joyous Xmas to you. Congratulations.

olmanriver said...

ps. Google Lennon's song Sweet Mary and there we are, No. 1.

Now I don't mean to put words in someone else's mouth, or thoughts in another's head, but maybe Ernie was remembering sideways the Beatles song "What's the new Mary Jane".
It almost made the White Album, but got scratched was released in a later anthology...

"She looks as an African queen,
She eating twelve chapattis and cream,
She tastes as Mongolian lamb,
She coming from out of Bahrain.
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party

She like to be married with Yeti,
He grooving such cooky spaghetti,
She jumping as Mexican bean
To make that her body more thin
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party

She catch Patagonian pancake
With that one a gin party makes.
She having all the ways good contacts,
She making with apple a contract
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
What a shame Mary Jane
What a shame Mary Jane had a pain at the party
(the chorus continues)

To each their own, good eggnog, or eggnug, to all this holiday season.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks for all of the poetry River.

And, great news Two Crows! Keep checking.

olmanriver said...

I would like to add a little Pre-Beatle LSD history 'cause I know not everyone has a subscription to Vanity Fair.

Everybody has heard about 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', but how many know there was a Cary in the Sky with Diamonds first?
As I shared before, it was TV actors and actresses who led me down the path of desire, drugs and alcohol. There was "a group of more than 100 Hollywood-establishment types began ingesting little azure pills".. well before Timothy Leary and the Beatles. You may enjoy reading about their therapeutic experiences.
The use of psychedelics for therapy is actually experiencing a revival amongst researchers, with the permission of the Feds.

spyrock said...

GROSS: Now, let me get back to an incident in 1968 when members of the Grateful Dead came up with this mission to send you and some other people to England to scope out - I think to scope out how serious the Beatles were about -- about what?

COYOTE: Well, they wanted to know if the Beatles were as socially adventurous as they were musically adventurous. And The Diggers were kind of like the conscience of the underground, or pretty much universally recognized as the guys who knew what was happening.

So, the Grateful Dead put together a group of emissaries, including The Diggers and Ken Kesey and some of his people, and some of the Hell's Angels, and sent us over to check them out and also to represent our California culture in swinging '60s London.

GROSS: And did you get to meet the Beatles?

COYOTE: Well, we met some of them. I met Ringo and I met George and I met John Lennon, certainly - saved John Lennon from getting his teeth knocked in by the Hell's Angels.

GROSS: What happened? What happened?

COYOTE: Oh, we were at a Christmas party one time and the Beatles were kind of frightened of us. We all descended on their office and George came out and told us that he knew a good hotel where they'd take anybody. And Ringo was just kind of looping around. Paul was out of town. And the Beatles' publicist was a guy named Derek Taylor - lovely man, who just died -- and he kind of took us under his wing and we rented a big flat in Battersea.

And we were invited to the Beatles' Christmas party. And we were there and we were walking around and there was no food. And we had no money and we were hungry. And Pete Nell, who was the president of the Hell's Angels, San Francisco Chapter, started complaining: "well, where's the food? You know, we've been invited to eat.

Where's the food? I'm hungry." And some English twit in an ascot turned around and said: "oh, really? It's uncool to be hungry." And Pete flattened him - just decked him right there in this big Christmas party. And John Lennon jumped up and said: "what's the matter with him then?" And he - Pete turned around and pointed to me and said: "tell him he's next." And I just sat John down right away and explained the situation from a diplomatic perspective; that we'd been invited. We were guests. We'd been there five hours. We hadn't had anything to eat. And Pete was a little cranky.

And John got the picture and dummied up and food was there in about 15 minutes.

GROSS: Hmm. Must have been - so how did you scope out how serious the Beatles were about being socially adventurous? I mean, how did you measure this for the Grateful Dead?

COYOTE: Well, John had an adviser. I can't remember his name now, but some American cat from Kansas. And he - I don't know - he just wasn't into too much. He had John's ear and we just were not so interested in what the Beatles were doing. I mean, we liked their music. They were really good musicians. But they were not paradigms of anything. I mean, their band wasn't organized. Let's say, the Grateful Dead's band was organized like a family. The Beatles were not organized like that. They were a big-time rock and roll business.

And while their style was certainly exemplary of the new age, they were all millionaires, you know, buying into the aristocracy in big homes. And we didn't really see them taking care of other people or using their power and access to create new models of anything. So we just listened to their records, but we were not looking to them for advice.

this is an interview of peter coyote, actor and former digger in the haight.
ernies article just illustrates what effect the fox channel, rush limbaugh and hannity and colmes have on our perception of history. throw enough dirt at something and it starts looking dirty.

charlie two crows said...

Spy, A man on a horse came to a desert and a rattle snake asked if the man if he could ride to the other side of the desert in his saddle bag. The man said no you'll bite me. The snake said I promise I won't. So the man put the snake in the saddle bag and crossed the hot desert. When he pulled the snake out he bit the man. He asked the snake why he bit him. The snake replied, I HAD TO, I'm a SNAKE! See the dirt?

spyrock said...

thanks, river, i like good sufi stories. but my aunt joy told me that when i heard the snake rattle to just freeze and he wouldn't bite me. so i just froze and pretended i was a statue and she was right. it didn't bite me, but i remembered this story for the rest of my life so it amounted to the same thing. a snake is a snake and he is going to bite you either way. the rattle is the same as a bite. manson did the same thing to me. called me a buuwazee pig. at 5 foot 5 inches, that was his way of biting.

Anonymous said...

Even if marijuana is the only illegal drug a kid uses, it can still cause a lot of harm to the growing brain. Marijuana all by itself is enough to screw up the minds of many people. We all know it can have unpredictable consequences. It really is too bad that kids are so rebellious and that certain adults are so willing to make money at their expense. Here in Humboldt County we are surrounded that kind of adult. In fact, they run the place now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Spyrock, for the information you offered on December 15, 2010 at 9:19 PM.

The haunting beauty of John Lennon's song "Julia" now has a context. I had always heard it was "about his mother" but your account of her role in his life cemented his capacity for translating love into art into my heart.

John Lennon was more than just a Beatle. Look to the music he produced after leaving the Beatles. Consider his song "Starting Over." What other popular musician would write and perform a song that exposed himself with the lines, "One thing you can't hide, is when you're crippled inside."

Ernie, if you must judge the man as immature when he was young, at a time when the world treated the Beatles as if they were gods, you might also be big-hearted enough to acknowledge the transformation of the child into the man he was becoming when he was cut down.

By the way, it wouldn't hurt you to listen to his music again with an ear tuned not to drug references, but to references to Christian and humanitarian values.

Now that I think of it, The Beatles produced a great many really great songs that were completely untainted by drug references. Listen to them. Read the lyrics. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Ernie. You might learn something from John Lennon even at this late date that would enhance your life.

Anonymous said...

suzy blah blah said...
Yep you got me alright Ernie. Sure you saw it. I believe that one just like I believe the one you made up about the Beatle's song Sweet Mary. LOL! but that's okay, I accept that that's just the way these things go around here, someone says that they should have put up a banner telling the hippys to go home, "that woulda showed em". LOL! Then every year at the Rotarian's potluck the story gets embellished til before you know it they're saying it really happened. And I'm sure there's some old-timers that have told it so many times that they probably believe it did. December 20, 2010 9:57 AM

YES, Suzy! Just like the story that every Vietnam Veteran tells about having some long-haired hippie spit on him when he came back home. They all believe it and swear it's true, but it's a crock.

Anti-war protestors were trying to save those soldiers from dying in a pointless war. We respected them. It was the national policy-makers we despised.

At the same time, the military was telling the soldiers lies about the anti-war demonstrators. Maybe that's where the stories about spitting hippies began. Probably. We got lied into the Vietnam War just like we got lied onto the Iraq War. Lying about spitting hippies seems par for the course.

Anonymous said...

When I recently replayed "Let it Be," I took "Mother Mary" to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, or as the Catholics say, "Mary Mother of God."

Another thing, Ernie, Mary is an extremely common name not only in America and Europe but all through the Middle East.

Is every reference to Mary also a reference to Marijuana?

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Is every reference to Mary also a reference to Marijuana?"

Nope! Only when it was in a Beatles song, or anytime that it was uttered in the '60s.

Anonymous said...

They killed John!

spyrock said...

i just saw the movie nowhere boy about john lennon's early life. its a oretty good portrayal of what i've already read about his early life. the guy was copying elvis. he's from my sister and ernie's generation. plenty of cigarettes and booze. and a bad attitude.