Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pot Country

My cousin “Oregon” was complaining that he didn’t have any redneck stuff to watch on television so I went looking on the internet for something interesting with a few rednecks in it and look what popped up. I found a couple of trailers that were hanging out there. The name of the film is “Pot Country”. Which only points out how far we’ve gone in the last 40 years, I remember when it used to be called “Timber Country”. Oh well, out with the old, and in with the new.

Last winter two Berkley university students showed up, Kate McLean and Mario Furloni. They had city clothes on, and they had squeaky clean faces and clear eyes. My first though was that they would never be able to find a job “trimming” looking like that. They said that they were trying to do a film about what the transition from logging to marijuana growing in Humboldt county was like. They said that they had tons of growers that they could talk to, but they wanted to talk to somebody that knew the history of the area. So I started by telling them about how the rocks got here, but they said that they wanted to start about 1950, the heyday of the timber industry in “Pot Country”.

We spend a couple of days talking and driving around. It was a nice trip down memory lane for me. They actually seemed to be fairly open minded. They didn’t really say much about all the trees that I slaughtered, and they didn’t seem to be down on the marijuana industry either. They tried to get along good with everybody and simply get the story. I felt that I had a lot in common with them, because the “Good Story” is what I live for.

My wife and I went down to Berkley for the premiere viewing of their film. I have not seen the final edition yet, so I don’t know if I die in the film like John Wayne did in "The Cowbys". But, I understand that the final edition was shown on KQED in San Francisco last night. Kate and Mario promised me a copy of the film once that it was published, and I have no reason to believe that they won’t send me one. They have such sweet faces, my wife fell in love with them, and I‘m sure she would have adopted them if it was possible.

The film won the “Hearst Award” which is apparently the top rated award at the school. Something like the Academy Award for best documentary at the university of California Berkley School of Journalism.

Pot Country | Trailer | 1min17sec from Mario Furloni on Vimeo.

Kym did a post on this film also: Pot Country



Kym said...

The film is simply beautifully done and, Ernie, you told it real. Thank you. I got all teary watching it.

Robin Shelley said...

Fascinating. Can't wait to see it.
I notice, though, that the film clip opens with a shot across 101 of Laytonville Auto Parts & then quickly moves to the Eel River Cafe in Garberville. I've heard it jokingly said that Laytonville is a suburb of Garberville... must be true! Ha!
I'm going to take a look over at Kym's now & see what she has. Really, can't wait to see the film.

skippy said...

Nice, Ernie. This rocked. This site is the best one seen today. The vid clips were well done, too. Thank you for the presentation and being the fine ambassador of history and yore. It was good to remember times past and how far we've traveled along in Humboldt memory. I'd forgotten-- deja vu and amnesia put together? Must have been the pot.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I just watched Rosanne Cash on Austin City Limits. "Bury me beneath the old willow tree". She has gone back to her family roots. She was incredibly good!

Anonymous said...

I should have watched Austin City Limits, SNL put me to sleep.

You've peaked my interest, I will see it when it comes out even though I'm sure my view on the marijuana industry is different than most that read or post on this blog.

Does the documentary address the law enforcement prospective? Or related crime?

maryellen said...

Hi Ernie, I just watched the preview and am really glad that you are part of this short history of humboldt. i think that the producers have done a nice job , with a pretty even hand. You have a great sense of humor too!
Maryellen McKee

Bunny said...

Well, ditto everything they all said except anonymous. I thought SNL was funny!

kushboldt said...

Ernie, your matter-of-fact narration of Humboldt reality is touching to say the least.

A shame there is not enough redneck Northern Californinan programming. These UC students may have chosen other bands for their soundtrack, perhaps Hank Jr., Hank 3, an Willie Nelson.


Anonymous said...

I'm writing a short story about the Hunt ranch, north of Laytonville.

Do you think that may be of interest?

Ernie Branscomb said...

"I'm writing a short story about the Hunt ranch, north of Laytonville.
Do you think that may be of interest?"

I'm interested in any local stories, good or bad. If you are writing something local for sale, I sell local authors books at Branscomb Center in Garberville.

Unless you are being tongue in cheek....

Ross Rowley said...

Hey Ernie! Look at the longer piece again. Right after you say, "A bar behind every stump", the shot is of a postcard of Willow Creek!!! Ha! HA! HA! I laughed and laughed and laughed. You see, we never had hippies move to Klamath-Trinity. We've stayed the same little logging community for 60 years. And on the menu are Logger Burgers, TimberTopper breakfasts and .....wait a damn that a hippie I see hitch hiking in town????? Grab the pitchfork boys and run his ass out on a rail!!!

Being a bit younger than you, my friend, I was taught in grammar school by the new hippie teachers out of Berkeley in 1970 through graduation from high school in 1978. A Culture clash is right. We had both the white shirt/black tie disciplinarians and the school marms who pounded the piano AND the new era groovy hip teachers with brand new ideas. Quite a funny era to be growing up in. Oh, I remember when they used to sell pot for $11 a lid. The "bad" kids would buy it from the hippies.

spyrock said...

i think that huel howser might retire soon. looks like ernie would be a good replacement.

born in 1998 said...

Lid? What's a "lid?"

charlie two crows said...

When I came to humboldt to attend CR in 69, A Lid was 10 bucks. I wish I had pictures of the swimming parties we had in the big water tanks above CR before they stopped it by putting (lids) on the tanks. I received a great whitecoller/hippy education!

Ernie Branscomb said...

“Lid? What's a "lid?"

Not having ever bought sold or used Marajuana, the following comes with a strong “Bullshistory Warning”:

Back in late sixties, early seventies, a “lid” was a baggie of Marijuana. The dope growers back then weren’t scientists, they were frickin’ hippies, okay? It was like “I don’t know man, what you see is what you get, it’s twenty bucks man. You want it or not?” It was always less than an ounce, because getting caught with more than an once was a felony.

Nowadays, the dope growers are Pharmacists, they don’t sell “lids” they sell grams like they were measuring gold dust.

Where’s Suzy Blah Blah when you need her? Opps, that’s right, she isn’t old enough to remember a “lid”.

Anonymous said...

No, not being tongue in cheek.

Your store sounds interesting. Is it in downtown Garberville?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yes, dead center. Behind the Eel River Cafe.

Anonymous said...

Just looked it up. Guess I should pay more attention, although I don't get down to Garberville too much lately.

I'm writing something, don't know if it'd sell but I'm working on it.

Johnathan Wilson said...

Anon, are you talking about the hunt ranch as in Rancho Primero?

Bunny said...

I bought my first lid in 1969 for ten bucks. I remember ( YES I remember) thinking geez that's a lot of money for this bag of this weed. I also thought there's no way this will be illegal for very long. But the war HAD to go on and tons of money wasted trying to make pot go away. Money and lives wasted by the illegality of an herb which makes the price ridiculously high. It's time to stop the bullshit. Just legalize it for Gods' sake. It's been over 40 years. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

A friend bought a matchbox for $5 from a 12 year old surfer at the beach in October of 66. We smoked the stems and the seeds too.
I didn't know how to inhale so it didn't affect me much.
Hippies didn't exist back then so we could smoke it out of a pipe tobacco bag in the sterio room at school and listen to Paul Butterfield. The pipe tobacco was called flying dutchman. We did that all school year long until the Summer of Love when everyone from Los Angeles moved to the city. We were listening to Light My Fire by the Doors before it came out on KFOG. It seemed to us that smoking pot was a Beatnik thing back then. The hippy thing was all about acid and Owsley. LSD was the only new thing happening. People like Gerald Heard and Aldous Huxley had been taking acid back in the 50's in the mountains near Ben Lomand in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
There was a lot of Government research at Stanford going on in those days too. And At Harvard.
Those people wanted to keep it among the elite. Leary wanted to dose everyone. Kesey took it to make some money in a government test program at Stanford. Which led to the Dead putting on Acid trips and their sound man Owsley buying a bunch of legal hits from Sandoz. So all of a sudden, all these left brain people started using their right brain. Or got a dose of it.
And the Hippies were born.
Pot's been around forever.
Acid showed up in the spring of 66 in a sugar bowl full of sugar cubes at the Fillmore with a sign above it saying free, take one, or something like that out of Alice in Wonderland.
Opening up the right side of the brain was the key to the 60's. The pot back then was not very strong. It was from the stuff they made rope and clothes out of. Those kilos were always split into ounces stems and seeds included. So a lid was always less than an ounce. Then the soldiers coming back from nam started bring back Thai Sticks. That's what started people thinking about THC content. So you can thank uncle sam for lsd and pot. Hippies are about as real as bigfoot, snipe or the jackalope. What invaded you up there was a bunch of city people who were slightly aware of the right side of their brain. A more correct terminology would be evolution. You just got evoluted.

Anonymous said...

Jesus is the evolution I need. Praise the lord!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Well hang on to Sweet Jesus, it's gonna' be a helluva ride!

Anonymous said...

jesus was a very evolved person. rather than bring the fear of the left brain which vibrates at a very slow vibration and connects with only 20 out of 64 possible genetic codes. jesus believed in love which vibrated at a much faster rate and connected with all 64 genetic codes. this dna effects the quantum field within an atom
which is made up of a few photons in mostly empty space. thus, the emotion of love aligns more of the photons even when it is removed manifesting the reality we see in the world.
in other words, jesus was an evolved being who was aware of both the left and right sides of the brain. the masculine and the feminine. the yin and the yang. the light and the dark. the whole enchilada. evolution means that we are slowing becoming more like jesus.
we really can't possibly become anything else.

Robin Shelley said...


Charlie Two Crows said...

Anon, I heard Jim Jones preach that same sermon word for word in ukiah. So tell us is that why you keep your ID secret,because your really a devout Jones'ie?

Anonymous said...

Stay away from the dark side of the enchilada!

suzy blah blah said...

hi Robin, A friend emailed me this morning to tell me about your comment. I haven't been very blog active these days (I decided to cool it for a spell because of some very complicated complications that I've been having lately in my world) so he thought I might not see it. My own blog, Life in Suzyville (I wish more ppl like you would have visited it more often) has now been taken down permanently. No more suxy language, no more formulas for revolution, no more true-life stories of life in soHum from the radiant child's point of view. All of that has been erased, and I'm afraid that all that one will find at the old url is:

Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

But, evolution, whatever, Suzy has never believed in an historical Jesus.

miss you,

Charlie Two Crows said...

SUZY BLAH BLAH, I have missed your input. Ernie told me once that Suzy was smarter than all of us. I have been blessed for you to answer my questions in this Blog. My son and I will burn sage in a sacred place and ask my ancestors to send raven to fight for you. Peace Two crows and son

Anonymous said...

I will miss you.
Love you Suzy.


skippy said...

Stunningly fabulous and fabulously stunning! Miss you, too. Say it ain't so, Suzy-BB-Q.

Robin Shelley said...

Wanted your input, Suzy. Want your input.
I have a special light I shine up into the night sky to summon Batman. Would it be okay if I give a Tarzan yell for you once in awhile? It won't be the same around here & there without you. <3

suzy blah blah said...

The story of Jesus is a story which contains a truth. Not a little bit of a truth, the whole story is a truth. But anyone who is not a complete idiot can see that it is not an historical or literal truth, but rather a metaphorical truth.

Where the left brain rules order and persistence prevail, but when the left brain rules at the expense of the right brain, things degenerate into dominance and abuse of power. When the left brain dominates the individual, she/he becomes narcissistic. When it dominates society, the culture dies. And this is the state we find ourselves in today. Living in a sick and dying culture, soon to be completely dead unless the psyche is irrigated by the flow of the right brain and balance is restored again.

The repression of Nature for some idealist idea of peace is ignorant. The dominating left brain activity of culture creates people who are less users than readers and selectors, therefore (comparable to DNA) when someone asks them a question (gives them a coding sequence) they plop out an appropriate, logical answer based on the expectations of the question. This is the HALLUCINATORY RESEMBLANCE of the REAL. What's missing is the acceptance and affirmation of the contradictory and exceptional.

There's no reality except the one contained within us. That's why so many people live an unreal life. They take images outside themselves for reality and never allow the world within them to assert itself. I don't see the jesus story as a history with a moral. But I do see it as a myth with a meaning. Reason and science is what takes meaning away. In school they show you a map of the universe and they call that truth. But it's a sham in that it depersonalizes and makes us feel like a fraction of an inch on a huge billion mile scale. This is not who we are and this "truth" makes us feel very very small --and all that much easier to manipulate. The limit of the universe is not its periphery, there is no periphery, the limit is the center, and the center is everywhere. At the center of the universe one transcends the opposites.

You are conscious and I am conscious, that is common ground. Who you really are is a transcendent subject of cognition that is a counter-pole to the empirical universe. If you can't realize this you are a part of the problem, off balance, and crazy, but you fit in well because society itself is pathological. People are paid to cover up their feelings and take the modern intellectual approach. To follow one's passion rather than what is reasonable means finding a recognition and a self-empowerment that is not given in the patriarchal structure of society. Especially for girls.

Scientific attitude's reason is "calculative reason" --a way of getting things done. Whereas passions have their own reason. Our passions make us who we are. Passion, not reason, defines us. Following one's passions makes one an individual, whereas following what's reasonable does not. Following one's reason makes one a banal mediocre person.

The intuitive mind (right brain) is a sacred gift and the rational mind (left brain) is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. --Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Our Lord Jesus came to us and died for our sins. It is through this sacrifice, through Jesus, that you may enter the kingdom of heaven.


Ernie Branscomb said...

Wow! Classic Suzy with her suit on. This stuff rolls off her brain, and I have to figure it out. Point by point I have a reply.

Point one: I’ve always understood that the story of Jesus is a metaphor, the same as heaven, hell and God almighty Himself. Jesus may have very well been a real person, but his legend has become what human nature wanted it to be. But… try to explain that to a fundamentalist Christian. The Geneses story is a myth made up by folks that didn’t know how to explain where everything came from, so they started with a simple explanation, and each telling made it better until we now have the biblical story of how it all came about. Human nature turns existence into what it wants it to be. Kind of an entropic happening, reality descends into religion.

As you might guess, I reject all of the left brain right brain thing. I fully understand that there is spiritual existence and reality, good and bad, yin and yang, right and left. There are the “two” sides to everything. I see things as “one“. There is more than simply two sides to everything. Each and everything in existence is multi-faceted. The brain is multi-faceted and the sum total of all it’s parts defines who we are. I think someone said “It takes a Village.” Our brains are our villages. They define who we are we are. We are far more complex than simply “right brain” and “left brain”.

Suzy says that “Reason and science is what takes meaning away.” That is true in the spiritual world, but the world that I thrive in, is a world filled with reason and science. In fact it is the only thing that gives my life meaning.

Suzy talked about the common ground of individual consciousness, that makes up who we really are. She also talked about the empirical universe: “Reason and science is what takes meaning away.
You are conscious and I am conscious, that is common ground. Who you really are is a transcendent subject of cognition that is a counter-pole to the empirical universe. If you can't realize this you are a part of the problem, off balance, and crazy, but you fit in well because society itself is pathological. People are paid to cover up their feelings and take the modern intellectual approach. To follow one's passion rather than what is reasonable means finding a recognition and a self-empowerment that is not given in the patriarchal structure of society. Especially for girls.”

I more agree with Suzy than not at this point, My only two comments are that “Empirical” means evidence gleaned by personal observation, and no two people will observe the same thing the same way.

The other thing that I find amusing is that she would complain about the “patriarchal structure of society” and she goes on to say that is true “especially for girls”. I need to point out that the only place that “Girls” are held back is in a religiously structured society. Agnostic societies make no such patriarchal restrictions on women.

Suzy finally wins me over with her last statement. I begrudgingly have to agree with most of it: “Scientific attitude's reason is "calculative reason" --a way of getting things done. Whereas passions have their own reason. Our passions make us who we are. Passion, not reason, defines us. Following one's passions makes one an individual, whereas following what's reasonable does not. Following one's reason makes one a banal mediocre person.”

I have often said that “A life without passion, is a life not worth living”. But reason is my passion.

suzy blah blah said...

Ok, I apologize ahead of time for the bullshit analysis. Reason being your passion sounds kind of odd. I accept it, but thinking about it, I suspect that if you ruminated on it too, you might half agree --that it's not really reason but something underneath your love of reason that you're passionate about. Something about serving others, reason is your tool. And you love tools, but what good are they without use. So I'm guessing that there is some other deeper force that moves you, that is your real passion. I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that you want to use reason to serve others in some way. A passion to serve others. Even when sometimes it may seem "unreasonable" to do so, Ernie. I don't want to sound too sentimental or dramatic about it, but it could be heroic.

spyrock said...

strange to see ernie quoting hillary clinton who stole the phrase from indiginent africans. and then cleverly inserted into sarah palin's failed vice-presidential race by mccain aides. "i can see a village in russia from my house".

Ernie Branscomb said...

You got my funny bone going again this evening. "It takes a village" now belongs to the world. It's one of those phrases that takes on its own meaning. It means that it takes a multitude of effort.

If you knew me better, you would know that there are many things that I like about Hillary, and some that I don't. I'm neither liberal or conservative, and I try to keep an open mind.

But. I always enjoy humor. Thanks!

spyrock said...

i just got back from a blood test and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how to do this fecal matter test. i was saving it up to drop a load there in the doctor's office. i didn't know it was take out nowadays. no, there's nothing wrong, i feel better than i have in years. it's just the insurance company trying to decrease costs by requiring us to get a yearly checkup at our age. so i am very much aware that life is short and i want to have fun, i want to dance.
i'm not really politically minded. i don't split people into categories. i try to see the good in everyone i meet so it doesn't matter if they are addicted to fox or the church lady. one of my best friends, randy, was a die hard rush listener and we had great conversations every day at work. until our ceo outsourced his forklift mechanic job. a guy like randy was worth his weight in gold for what he knew how to do as a mechanic, but it didn't matter that he voted to reduce that ceo's taxes the year before. hasta la vista baby, venga los mexicanos. i sort of look at life on a case by case basis or moment by moment for you new agers. i was glad obama won because i was tired of hearing so many black people whine and excuse their behavior because some of their ancestors where slaves 150 years ago. a lot of white people died to set you free. but that didn't seem to matter. of course, he was the lesser of two evils. mccain kept acting like we would be at war forever. and obama is a good liar like bill clinton.
so we are still at war, still in debt, nothing has changed, but black people are happier and i heard oprah is a queen now.
meanwhile, i have a girlfriend in santa cruz whose ancestor was a pirate who brought slaves to america from africa and another girlfriend from big sur whose ancestor brought a boat load of white people to new england back in the pilgrim days. most of those white people were serfs, indentured, with no money who had to work off their debt to get their freedom once they arrived in america. it sounds like most of us are still in debt still in the same boat. so nobody that came here was in first class. the pioneers earned their way. i have tremendous respect for that. i'm not really here to lay my truth on other peope nor am i here to judge what they see as truth. i'm just here to dance.

suzy blah blah said...

At one point "one" became "won". That's why politics is a big ego trip. Politicians like Hillery are a part of the patriarchy. They're not at war against gender, they're at war against the feminine.

They are at war against the earth.

Yin and yang dance together, there's no winner. But in their mythology, war is good, patriarchy rules, power is everything. Yet we are one. It's tricky to dance with someone who's mythology, or truth, is war, dominance, and winning. In his eyes, his truth is the "one" truth, and yours is interesting, but it's "just a myth".

But when speaking of reality, that's not "we're all one", that's "I'm one, and you, you're in the way".

Suzy doesn't dance to win the dance. I don't dance to get to someplace on the floor. I don't dance to get to the end of the song. It just happens, I feel the music, I feel it in every cell of my body, sometimes it's as though a bolt of lightning hit Me and animated my movements, sometimes the gestures pour out like molten lava. That's how Suzy defines dancing. Otherwise it's a waste of energy and I'm better off sitting down.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thunder… Lightning… The way you move me is frightening…

Robin Shelley said...

I hope you dance forever, Suzy.

two crows said...

One moon,one sun,one earth,one people,one dance,ONE.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Charlie and I agree on this, as I said before:

"There are the “two” sides to everything. I see things as “one“. There is more than simply two sides to everything. Each and everything in existence is multi-faceted. The brain is multi-faceted and the sum total of all it’s parts defines who we are.

However, there are Two Crows

Charlie two crows said...

Ernie, when two or more crows gather, its called a MURDER. And seen as ONE!

two crows said...

What ever happened to ELECTRIC EEL at Frenchy's years ago?

two crows said...

Ernie, you know a lot of indians. Tell me if the Fed's still have a hot house for clinical weed? operated by the Res. Or is this one of those stories with too many bodies so to speak? Wait I must correct my self. The RES. Called it a nursery!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Two Crows
There are quite a few "nurseries" run by Indians, but I don't know of any that are government sanctioned by any other than a "215".

charlie two crows said...

From 86-92 the company I worked for sold equipment to a nursery on the HUPA indian Reservation. The Federal product was shipped by night currier to SF. I went there every month to service the equipment. Long before 215. If the logger Joe Grocer was alive he could vouch for my story.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I don't doubt your story. I just can't verify it. The Goverment Marijuana had to come from somewhere, so it only makes sense.

charlie two crows said...

Hey Ernie, did the indians in So Hum practice preventive medicine. And did they know human anatomy? And if so,who taught them. Tribes here have used a local plant to heal kidney stones and kidney infections. Another plant for blood thinning. Have you heard stories in your life time. That you wondered how in the world did local indians have so much knowledge about medicine?

Anonymous said...

Ernie thanks for the clip on pot country and the back to landers. What I found interesting and the one thing that hasn't changed about our little Garberville business owners ie: Chamber of commerenceeorko. They still don't like the hippies, travlers or weed. I just don't understand why you all don't understand if these folks aren't here doing what they do none of those business's would be there!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

"I just don't understand why you all don't understand if these folks aren't here doing what they do none of those business's would be there!!"

That's because you didn't get to hear the whole documentary. Somewhere in it I said, to the effect, that there is not a business in Garberville that wouldn't dry up and blow away if it weren't for marijuana. Sad, but true.