Sunday, January 30, 2011

Drug induced paranoia.

The story that just won’t die.

Back in December, after a respectable time after the anniversary of John Lennon’s Murder, I did a post entitled: One Man's Hero is another Man's Pariah As predicted, most of the people that replied were not yet adults in the ‘60s. Most of the replies defended either Marijuana, or John Lennon’s stellar reputation as a great humanitarian, tower of virtue, and the end-all do-all for the generation of the sixties. They didn’t see him as the pariah that glorified drugs as I had depicted him. The post is still being replied to.

I made the statement that The Beatles glorified Marijuana and other drugs that were popularized by the music of the sixties. The bands that glorified drugs were being lead through the parade by The Beatles. If you are into marijuana and other drugs you would think those kinds of statements would warm the cockles of your hearts. “Yep, drugs is good, and it hasn’t even made me any stupider, nope!” But no, everybody wanted to defend poor Johnny Lennon from my accusation that he glorified drugs. Whaaaaa…?

Hey. Either you are into Marijuana and Lennon or you aren’t. Who really cares? There is some evidence that the man who killed John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, was led into drugs at the age of 14, mostly from emulating The Beatles. Granted, he was insane. Was his insanity anyway exacerbated by his drug use? Might he have led a normal life if he had not been introduced to drugs? I don’t know, do you? How much do drugs influence some peoples insanity?

Many of the people that I know, that use Marijuana, claim that it is the only thing that keeps them sane. Many of the people that I know, that have used L.S.D, claim that it changed their lives. I’ve never used marijuana, and I’ve never used L.S.D. and I have no desire to try it. I had just about all of the life changing events that I can handle already. But, you can’t have it both ways, either drugs change you or they don’t.

Another thing that I don’t get is the recent denial that the soldiers weren’t welcomed when they came back home from the Viet Nam war. That‘s a real W.T.F moment for me. ( W.T.F. is polite for “What The Fuck”. Apparently there are people that still don’t know that. So, I uncensored it so you will know. Sorry) The soldiers were certainly NOT made to feel welcome when they came home. I don’t blame any one group more than others. We were all guilty of not supporting our soldiers as well as we should have.

I made a few talking points here, and I intend to offer more talking points in my comments below. I want to find a statement from Chapman that he got into drugs because of the Beatles, if there is one out there, and I want to find evidence that drugs do, or do not influence insanity.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

After the Dust Bowl, Timber Okie's

Back in the late 40s, 50s, and up to the 60s, there was a great influx of people that came here to work in the timber industry. They added a new dimension to who we were. Even though they never fit the true sense of the word “Okie” we called them that anyway. The true Okies were the immigrants that came to California to pick fruit, and work in the agricultural fields during the Dust Bowl period of the 30s. 

The new migrants proudly called themselves “Okies”, from Oklahoma, unless they were “Arkies”, in that case they were quick to point out that the were Arkies, from Arkansas, not from Oklahoma. Even though the average Californian couldn’t readily pick up on the difference in their accent, it was different. Most of the kids in school could tell the difference. Some of the new people were from Missouri, they pronounced it “Mizoruh”.

When a new Okie came to town, he was usually a friend or a relative of one of the Okies that already lived here. The relative that lived here would take the fellow around and introduce him to people that might give him work. Usually they wanted mill work, because logging was just too dangerous for somebody unfamiliar with woods work. Some tried the woods, and did well, but it was usually the more adventurous type.

Most didn't have anything but the car that they drove out to California in. When they went to work in a mill, the owner of the mill was usually not much better off than the average Okie, but the mill owner would give them a couple of cull logs to use for a foundation for a house. The poor grade of lumber that was not fit for sale was allowed to run off the end of the green chain. Anybody that wanted to haul it away could have it. The new mill employees would take the lumber and build themselves a one room cabin with a lean-to roof. Usually they would dig themselves an outhouse next. Then they would scab a few more lean-to rooms on the house for a little privacy.

Most of the mill workers that lived in the mill camp would help the new neighbors build their house. The new workers were usually very humble and very, very grateful. They were glad to be in California, have a job, have their kids back in school, and have a place to live. It was a very moving experience to see how grateful these people were, and how hard that they tried to fit in. I don't think that I appreciated how grateful the new people were. I didn't know how desperate they must have been when they came to this canyon. To my young eyes I guess that I just thought that it was all normal for them to be that way.

The Okies seemed to be very happy people and the liked to party, cook, and play cards on the week-ends. There was usually a beer bar close by that they would spend a little time in, but come Monday morning they knew that they had better be at work, or they were sent down the road. A mill depends upon everybody doing their job. If just one person doesn't show up everybody is out of work until he can be replaced. Most mills had a couple of old experienced hands that could fill in anywhere it somebody didn't make it to work. When they had a full crew, the experienced hands would do the work around a mill that always needs doing, like oiling, moving saws, working in the saw-filing room, or what ever needed doing. The all-around-hands could figure out what needed to be done without even telling them. Their job was to expedite, and keep the mill pumping out lumber as smoothly as possible.

It was well understood that anything that was built belonged to the mill, so if a person quit and went to work somewhere else, they left their home behind, and then he would have to build a new one. Or, if he was lucky he could just move it somebody else's vacated home. Having a home that belonged to the mill built loyalty to the mill. Nobody wanted to leave behind a house that they had built themselves.

Jobs were plentiful, but money wasn't. The mill and woods work didn't pay very good, but is there was a difficulty between a boss and a worker, it was easily settled with a firing or a quitting. Most people that found themselves jobless would go down to the closest bar and wait for somebody to come hire him. Usually they weren't out of work for more than two or three days at the most. Often people walked off of one job and right into another.

The thing that always struck me about the people from the poor states is that they were so darn friendly and happy, and they tried really hard to fit in. Most ended up doing fairly well for themselves and their families.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


The talent of the human animal never ceases to astound me. I was viewing a scene from the Hubell Telescope went I ran across this video, it just blows me away. I can't even play a triangle in tune. Eat your heart out Ekovox!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I checked Kym Kemps blog and she had a beautiful photo of the fullish Moon. Tom Seaborn also has a photo of the Moon, only his had less exposure, and he brought out the “Man in the Moon”. Both Kym and Tom lamented the fact that they didn’t have any geese flying across their Moon. They both felt that geese would have brought their photos closer to perfection. I agree, there is nothing like a full Moon on a crystal clear winter night... With geese flying across it.

Last month, when we had the fullest moon in centuries (decades?) I saw a flock of geese flying north, at just about sunset the night of the eclipse. I laughed to myself about the geese flying north. Aren’t they supposed to be flying south this time of the year? I chuckled some more, thinking that maybe the poor geese got caught up in one of those pale green clouds of smoke that emanates from southern Humboldt and permeates everything. Just as I always do, I continued on, to over-think the situation. It is mid January, maybe they are flying back north already. Humm… Maybe the geese know what they are doing, and I got caught up in that pale green cloud of smoke.

Anyway, the weather has been some of those exquisitely beautiful nights and days that we get just as we think that we just can’t take anymore rotten weather, and we start looking around for something to kill, just for fun. The sky today was deep blue and crystal clear. The sky at night has been velvet black with pin-prick, to nail hole size, diamond sparkling stars. I know, some of them are planets, but then I would have to take the time to point out which is which. I’m not going to do that! Take my word for it, the sky is beauuuutiful.

When the sky is like this I can’t take my eyes off it. It has been the same for millions of years, you would think that it would be like Reagan’s Redwoods, if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, but I have just never been able to get over the beauty of a night sky.

When we were kids on the ranch in Laytonville we would go out side at night to play in the fields, or the orchard. We weren’t afraid of bears and bobcats, or mountain lions, like the kids today. The kids today are sissies by comparison. But, I think that it is only fair to admit that there were sheep and cattle on the ranch that the predators would go after sooner than a stinky little human kid.

Usually we get some really great days in Feburary. Some days in February get up into the 80s. It gives you a little promise of spring, and your brain starts to think about planting things. If you just have to plant something you can plant the peas that you were supposed to have planted last November, but it was just too wet and depressing. Or you could plant Onion sets. Radishes seem to be delightfully weather blind, plant them.

Anyway, I got over the need to kill something, so I came back on here to do a post and share my joy. You can talk about anything that’s on your mind if you want. It’s a good time for a mid-winter chat.

I thought that I would include some abbreviated Shakespeare, that really isn’t about winter, but more about life. Old Shakespeare just couldn’t seem to get it together, he would talk about things in metaphors and similes instead of just coming out and saying it. I really feel sorry for him sometimes. He just wasn’t a good writer like us!

The bold print is Shakespeare's, the fine print is my interpretation.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

(Our sadness has turned to happiness)
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

(And, the misery of war that has rained upon us has now washed to sea and disappeared)
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
(we have won our war)
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;

(Our battle scared weapons, hung up as trophies)
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,

(our war cries have turned to happy greetings)
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
(our war has turned to peace)
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
(Now, instead riding war horses to scare and kill our enemies)
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber

To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
(We play in a ladies bedroom to the tune of a stringed instrument)

The word "lascivious"means: showing a desire for, or unseemly interest in, sex, Which would imply that there is something else going on in the ladies bedroom that both Shakespeare and I are too modest to talk about...

Now, Who make the most sense, Shakespeare or us????


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Talkin' 'bout my generation.

Dr. Martin Luther King Day always reminds me of coming-of-age in the sixties. We were mad as hell and we DIDN‘T take it anymore. We stood up for civil rights, we stood up against, or for, the Vietnam War. There was no such thing as neutral territory in the sixties, we changed everything. The generation of the sixties decided that free-love, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll were something that we were entitled to. We were tired of the same old rock-and-roll, so we threw in a little Blues, and the Blues men threw in a little Country and Western, and the whole world around us mixed-it-up, more than just a little.

"The Who" did a song about the kids of the sixties called "Talkin' 'bout my Generation".

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation) 

The song pretty much said it all about the sixties. It was a time of great change. The world today is different because of “my generation”. We have new civil rights laws. Laws where all people are supposed to be treated equally. We roasted Jim Crow on the barbeque. We stopped the Viet Nam War. We changed the music to the way that we liked to move. Some of us tried and liked drugs. Most of us didn’t try drugs, but there was enough children of the sixties on drugs that it seemed that, surely, everybody was on drugs. L.S.D. seemed to be the drug of choice back then, Marijuana is the big choice today.

This January is the One Hundredth Anniversary of “The Rotarian” the magazine of the Rotary Club. It was started to be a information source for the already large and popular Rotary Club. They really out-did themselves for the Hundredth year issue.

In “The Rotarian“, there is a article by P.J. O’Rourke, he talks a little about the sixties. He said: “I’m not going the pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next. I’m a member Of the 1960s generation. We didn’t have any wisdom.”

He went on to say:
“We were the moron generation. We were the generation who believed we could stop the war in Viet Nam by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns.”

“We believed that drugs would change everything - Which they did, for John Belushi.”

“We believed in free love. And love was free, but we ended up paying a very high price for the sex.”

“My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of youth to act weird and shock the grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the earth’s resources of weird. Weird clothes - we wore them. Weird beards - we grew them. Weird words and phrases - we used them. So, when it came your turn to look and act weird, you had to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues.”

O’Rourke went on to offer the local youth some “Free Advice”. He said:

 “Don’t be an idealist. Don’t chain yourself to a redwood tree. Go be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you try to cheat the I.R.S, you will end up paying $100,000 in taxes. That’s $100,000 worth of schools and sewers, firefighters and police. You’ll be doing good for society.”

“Idealists are also bullies. The idealist is saying, ‘I care more about the redwood trees than I do you. I care so much, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, it broke-up my marriage. And because I care more than you do, I’m a better person than you are, and I have the right to boss you around.’”

“Go get some bolt cutters and unleash that tree from the idealist.”

O’Rourke says: “Who does more to save the redwoods anyway - the person who’s chained themselves to a tree or the person who founds the Green Travel redwoods Tree-Hug Tour Company and makes a million by turning redwoods into a resource that people will pay hundreds of dollars just to go look at?”

Most people today either love or hate the sixties. It seems that everyone calls themselves a product of the sixties. If they were alive in the sixties, even if they only had one toe sticking out of the womb in the sixties, they claim to be “a product of the sixties”. It was a period of great change, and everybody wants to be part of change. Change is good... right?

I see, and feel, rumblings of change today like we had going into the sixties. People are starting to demonstrate, people are certainly fed up. Our politicians are mostly corrupt, our corporations are sending all of our jobs, that they can, to other countries. People are starting to wonder why the U.S. has to be the world police. Why not let other counties defend themselves if they can, and if they can’t, Oh well.

The young people of today are going to pay the debt of the corruption that we see going on in the world now. Maybe the children of the Two-Thousand-Teens will take us into a new world, where they are mad as hell, and they won’t take it anymore. I hope that I’m around to see it. The one thing that I’m certain of, I won’t be giving them any advice, the children of the sixties didn’t take any advice, and I’m sure that the children of today won’t take our advice. It’s time for them to revolt against what we have done for them, Or should I say to them.

I'm reminded of the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cousin Oregon

I hope this post doesn't embarrass Cousin “Oregon” too much. Actually it shouldn’t, because only a few of us even know who he is. I took this picture out of his facebook album. He probably doesn’t care that I used this picture to describe him, because, when he isn’t pounding on sawmill saws, the guy on the horse is who he is.

He has signed his name a few times to things that he has said on this blog when he felt that he said something that shouldn’t be said unless it was signed. That is just part of his character. We were raised to be proud of our names, and not do anything that we wouldn’t own up to. We weren’t saints, it’s just that we weren’t ashamed of who we were.
This photo was taken a few years ago. I just wanted to pull it up and wish him happy birthday.
Happy Birthday, Oregon. 
The only thing that I can figure is he must have been packing that Buck out for somebody else.

Boat and home.



Oregon on top impatiently waiting his turn to roll down the hill in the barrel. Me in the barrel


Cousin John

Oregon on the left. (He didn't have any choice, his mother dressed him that way!Cousin John. Cousin Margie. Sister Sharon, that's as tall as she ever got.Cousin Karen. Me in the back, Cousin Penny in front.

Oregon hunting, the black things are salmon.

Other daughter.

Oregon Hunting again again. He always caught some fish on a hunting trip just in case he didn't find any game. I have no idea what kind of fish he caught when he was bear hunting. I don't have any bear pictures.
Oregon's son

Friday, January 7, 2011

California Report

Jim Baker said..."Ernie, heard your voice on the California Report on the way home from work. You're famous. Does this mean I have to find somebody else to fix my furnace?"

Sorry Jim, I had company tonight and missed it. I'll wait until it comes up in the archives. As to will I still fix your furnace? Sure I will, but we probably fixed it pretty good last time, and it will out last both of us.
They were looking for somebody very knowledgeable, articulate, and witty, with deep knowledge about the north coast before the Back-to-landers came. But, I was the only person that they could find. 
Kym Kemp put together a piece of the whole interview for her blog: Click here. I understand that it wasn't the same as what aired. They made me sound a lot better than the actual interview. It is rare that a person from here is actually made to look good. But of course a few people didn't like what I had to say, so what else is new?

Link to Kym Kemp's blog
Link to California Report and audio.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

One more time

I tried this statement as a reply, but it got too long so I posted it.This is a reply to person who's opinion I value. I just want to change that opinion a little bit.

Well…. I’ve been ruminating all day long. It is at this point that most of the old north coast culture just rolls over and says to “hell with it, It’s not worth sacrificing friendships over”, but somehow I feel compelled to wade into the muddy waters and see if I can somehow stir them clear, you see my dilemma.  I am equally compelled to state, way up front, that I value Olmanriver’s friendship and the contributions of knowledge, and history, that he has made to this blog, and to my entire family. And, this whole valley.

Any time that it is tried to explain that we valued our culture that we once had, it is diminished by the people that weren’t there, and obviously can’t understand. Any analogy that I try make is poo poo’ed and put aside. I went back and tried to make the statement analogous the Indian culture more clear. Maybe I was clumsy.

Olmanriver said: “I have a big problem with your using what happened to the Indians as analogous to what happened to the local redneck culture!”

The fact that we didn’t kill each other this last culture change is the only difference that I can see. But, if we are going to involve ourselves in the killing of the first culture-change between the white man and the Indian, I want to make it clear that I had direct ancestors killed by Indians. Although it makes little difference who was the “right” and who was the “wrong“, it worked both ways, a lot of “innocents” were killed. And at this point I want to make it clear, again, that I feel strongly that we don’t have the knowledge today to judge the right or wrongness of what happened between the early settlers and the Indian people. Perfectly innocent Indians were killed, and, perfectly innocent whites were killed. I could go into details, but what’s the point? At every analogy that is given, the salient facts are pushed aside and the analogy is attacked. So, I’ll try it differently.

We had a culture here that was unique to the north coast of California. We weren’t “rednecks”, although we were more redneck than the culture that supplanted us. We had our own system of honor. Our names were our honor, our word was our bond, and a handshake was a contract. We didn’t swear in the presence of ladies, and we took our hats off and wiped our feet when we came into the house. We took a bath and put on clean clothes before we came to town, or was to be seen in public. We didn’t lock our doors, because we didn’t need to. We left our keys in our cars and trucks in case somebody needed to move them. We left our tools where we were using them so they would be there when we came back. We had free run of the hillsides and rivers, and we swam in the river anywhere we liked. No kid was ever home while it was daylight. We had games to play and hillsides to hike on and rivers to swim in. The only rule was we had to be home for dinner when the street lights came on. The men worked hard, drank hard, and played hard. The women were busy from daylight to dark, like in "a woman's work is never done".

Fights were frequent and gentlemanly, nobody sucker-punched, and the winner bought the beer. The crowd that watched two people fighting kept the fight “fair”. Any fight that got out of the boundaries of fairness was broken up by the crowd.

Everybody had a “favorite” of one of two choices. Ford / Chevy, Millworker / woodsworker, and so on, ad-infinitum.

Everybody knew everybody and we were proud of who we were and what we did. It was an insult to not ask a person what they did for a living. The people that we didn’t know were quickly placed by asking a few family questions. It was soon determined who we were by family and geographical area.

Our culture was the law of the land. As you might guess, it was often violated, but it was understood that you were going against the rules.

The Wailaki Indian culture was not the same as the Lakota Sioux, nor was it the same as the Pomo or the Yuki or the Cahto.  They were different and distinct cultures. The people of the north coast were different from Kentucky rednecks. Some people that moved here very early on in the seventies got a short glimpse of the people that lived here and at least tried to understand them, I could name those, but I don’t want another distraction from the fact that we had a culture that was pushed aside and disrespected. I know… If it wasn’t them, it would have been someone else. Who was it that said you can never go home again? But, it’s a lot harder to take the loss of your home when you never left it.

Now, for the typical couching that the Past culture has to do for the new culture: We love you guys, we're glad that you are here! We would just like a little love and respect back. How about it?