Saturday, January 19, 2019

Burn One Down

Burn One Down

Ben Harper‘s song, Burn One Down, has the lyrics, “If you don’t like my fire, then don’t come around, ’cause I’m gonna burn one down.”

The power here is in the ability of these words to completely circumnavigate sex, religion and politics.  That’s no small feat, and this particular one does so in less than 20 words.  Chris Cornell, when asked about great lyrics, once said that its strength lies in the “ability to say as much as possible, using as few words as possible.”

So when asked where I stand on the issues, particularly on the legalization of marijuana, I can pretty much sum it up with that one sentence.  It’s a more direct way of stating the “want” for Constitutional rights to be recognized around here.  And, yes, that’s pretty direct…but collectively, it is becoming the war-cry of the entire counter-culture movement.

Ben Harper | Burn One Down
Ben Harper | Burn One Down

And that, to those of you still reading, is my opinion, to which I’m entitled and is afforded me by constitutional right.  Understand that does not make my opinion a law, and you’d think that wouldn’t have to be pointed out. After all, take Colorado and Washington. Both states went through the entire political process, playing the games, crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s. Both states voted to legalize marijuana. But at any given moment, the federal government can swoop in and crash that party Elvis doing karate. Sometimes I feel like we may live in the Twilight Zone.

…And Your Point Is?

Back to my point: Ben Harper wrote a stoner song that is brilliant in its total negation of political paradigm, yet somehow, with avid bow-hunter accuracy, perfectly says what every person with a sound mind, who isn’t consumed by the “want to be disagreeable to anything remotely considered liberal (Ted Nugent)” really thinks.  That’s my opinion.  That’s Ben Harper’s song.  And this, my friends, is where I stop writing. Stay green.

Abbey Road

I Get High…

One of my favorite stories about marijuana and the musicians who use it is the infamous first meeting of The Beatles and Bob Dylan.  As legend has it, the Liverpool lads were a bit star struck, and Dylan, noticing this, decided to start the conversation by telling them that he really dug their tune, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”  The Fab Four reciprocated by letting Dylan know that they were huge fans of his work.  Dylan smiled and responded, “I especially like the part of your tune where you sing the line, ‘I get high, I get high, I get high.’’

Now whether or not Dylan knew the actual bridge line was, “I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide,” is irrelevant.  The Beatles, of course, did not dare correct the folk legend.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

What is relevant is what happened next.  Dylan asked the boys that fateful question, as the legend goes, that no one had ever asked them before:  “Y’all wanna get high?”  The rest, as they say, is indeed rock n’ roll and counter-culture history.  The first time The Beatles smoked weed, they did it with Bob Dylan.

…And Then There Was Music

The relationship between the best plant on the planet and the best songwriters, activists and free thinkers on the planet was, without a doubt, set in motion by a power much greater than what the greatest minds in human history could begin to comprehend.  This is of great comfort to me when I remember to stop forgetting that coincidence is just a word created to rationalize a much larger and universal truth:  symbiotic relationships, cosmic to convenient, are as natural as it gets.  As they say, a friend with weed is a friend indeed.  Stay green.

Bob Dylan photo courtesy Badosa

Abbey Road Photo Courtesy Rev. Beraldo

Hollywood and Marijuana

The Big Secret

Cannabis, Hollywood, and The Counter Culture
Large jar of creativity and stress relief.

To my marijuana-smoking counterparts:

the entertainment industry is mocking us.  They are betting it all on the assumption that the weed smokers of America are so stoned that we won’t recognize the same crap in a different idiot box.  The truth is that their technique is working, just not so much on our demographic.  Soccer moms are easy targets, as are the unemployed.  But we, the cannabis smokers and watchers of the watchmen, are much more attuned than we’re credited for.

The monster that is reality TV has become an instrument of crime. One of the biggest criminals being the “brand” known as the Kardashians, and the little man behind the crime, Ryan Seacrest. And the trained chimps they hire to script the reality?  Let’s just say their little primate hands aren’t unclean either. Regardless, the ratings don’t lie, and the ratings are the bottom line. Being famous for being famous does violence to the term fame. And it does even greater violence to the watching dead; the poor gossip junkies who fill that void with the horrible acting done by “real” characters who cannot even act like themselves well.  I feel for the kid of Kanye and Kimberly, what’s her name?  Oh, yeah:  North.  North West. Wow.  If anyone had a moral compass of any kind, those two would’ve been kicked out of the gene pool long ago.


If Only “Pop Culture” Was Really “Pot Culture…”

The movie industry, Hollywood, tinsle-town, the place where dreams come true.  The place Willie Will Smith and his mutant children call home.  The crimes of the movie industry are less severe than that of TV, but just as harmful. Cannabis smokers world-wide have come the realization that quality ‘stoner’ entertainment just isn’t what it used to be. Picture a board room full of these “idea” people; and the big boss shouts the command, “I want ten ideas that already exist that can be regurgitated before this year is over!”  The room goes quiet as the well-dressed chimps think to themselves, “Oh, God!  It’s already March; Thank God I left Red Lobster on good terms.”  This same room was the birthplace of the remake of The Karate Kid.  They “re-imagined” a great movie that spoke to the generation from which it came, and they got jiggy with it.  The demon spawn of Willie Will did to that movie what American Idol’s Randy Jackson did to the word “dawg.”

All I’m saying is that I may be too stoned to find my lighter, but I’m not so stoned that I can’t recognize feces being hurled at my head.  Think green.

Good Music and Weed

Fundamentals of Good Music

I am of the humble opinion that this century’s music has not lived up to the bar set before them in the decade of responsible and social aware rock n’ roll. That decade saw a great paradigm shift in music and pop culture; a decade that started with America’s unfunniest home video bringing global attention to abuses of power in a metropolis sitting on a fault line long overdue for an eruption.  An ambitious young doctor out of California branched out and prescribed smoking indo, sipping on Gin and juice, and heavy contemplation on personal finance.Good Music and Weed  His album defined his generation in two simple words: The Chronic. And the doctor? None other than Dr. Dre.

It’s the 90’s!  Not since the late 60’s has a music scene exploded in such a fashion.  The fire was fueled by the battle cry of Dre: Weed, smoke, fire, sticky-icky, chronic, the kill kill.  It didn’t matter what you called it as long as you had a fat sack full of it.  Being an active listener and a product of the times, I discovered the tools of an active listener: a good set of headphones, a good bowl and a lighter.  My judgment was deemed sound by my peers.  And if my words and endorsements of music were responsible, then I, alone, was responsible for them.

But, What Happened?

Then, as fast as the scene erupted, the quality changed to quantity, and everybody was trying to sound like Pearl Jam…and I do mean everybody. To what could this epic failure of auditory pleasure be attributed?  Besides the obvious corporate influences of “bottom line” over substance, which didn’t create the problem, by the way.  They just took advantage of it and took most of the knee-jerk blame.  I think the real culprit was the late 90’s shift in narcotic of choice.  Bad drugs make good people make bad choices…and there is no crime greater than bad taste in music.  And speed kills creativity in exchange for efficiency.  In all aspects of pop culture, the smiles from the early 90’s, fell victim to meth mouth and paranoid delusions.

Tarintino movies weren’t as cool as Tarintino-esque movies simply because Tarintino couldn’t make movies fast enough for the demand.  The musical cry, “I’m still alive,” was replaced by Disturbed’s guttural cry, “Get down with the sickness.”  The positive energy of raging against the machine was killed by the rabid cries shouting, “let the bodies hit the floor.”  And just like that, it was over.

And this, for the most part, can be attributed to the fact that the masses of people have been tricked into thinking marijuana is a bad thing.


Photo courtesy Kay La La