Portland Pee-Pee

Last week a teenager jumped the fence encircling a city reservoir in Portland, Oregon. CCTV caught the young man in the act of urination and the police arrested the perpetrator and his two friends for trespassing. The city water administrator decided that the city residents didn’t want their water tainted with urine and emptied the reservoir’s 38 million gallons, despite admitting that the health risk was small.

USA Today’s headline ran the banner ‘Man urinates in reservoir, ruins 38M gallons of water’.

People quickly calculated that the urine amounted to about 1/8 gallon in a reservoir of 38 million gallons amounts to a concentration of 3 parts per billion according to www.slate.com

Drink was most definitely part of this story and beer was probably the cause of his having to take a whizz.

As for the hysterical response by the water administrator and accusations of waste by the public we don’t know if the young man had been eating asparagus, which as Babe Ruth once said, “I don’t eat asparagus. It make my pee smell.”

Actually that’s the only Babe Ruth quote I know and it is very true.

4:20 4/20 2014


Police and parents Marijuana was demonized during my youth. Reefer smokers were condemned by the courts. John Sinclair, the MC5 radical, was sentenced to ten years of prison for the crime of ‘giving’ an undercover agent two joints. The severity of his punishment did not deter the millions of marijuana smokers of the 60s and the herb found more and more disciples after the Summer of Love.

I remained straight.

Drugs were for someone else.

I liked beer. It was almost legal, if the police ignored the drinking age. My friends drank beer too, but they were also converts to marijuana. We had met two years ago at the Surf Nantasket, a dance club on the beach. That evening we had just seen the Rockin’ Ramrods, the South Shore’s #1 band. My three friends wanted to smoke marijuana on the way home. I told them no.

“I don’t want to get a contact high.” My drugs of choice was beer, wine, and any other form of alcohol. Marijuana was against the laws of the state. No one in my family had ever gone to jail.

“Pot is better than alcohol and safer than cigarettes.” John was a head. He smoked every day. His grade average at high school was a straight D.

“You smoke both.” The radio in my VW Beetle was tuned to WMEX. The DJ was playing the Zombies SEASON OF THE WITCH. It was a groovy song.

“Girls like smoking weed.” Frank E had been in the Marines for six months. A broken leg had earned him an honorable discharge. He brandished a joint between his fingers. “It makes them horny.”

My girlfriend was straight. Kyla was a cheerleader with a divorced mom. We had come close more than a dozen times that summer.

“Smoke it.” John lit up a reefer. He attended Catholic Memorial. It was my school’s arch rival. “You’ll feel good.”

“Smoke it.” Thommie Gordon played hockey for Archbishop Williams. He had long hair. His sister was cute. “It won’t hurt you.”

I opened the sunroof of the VW. My window too.

“Smoke it.” Frank E sucked on the joint. “Girls like it, especially that hippie girl from Weymouth you like. Susan Finn.”

“She does?” I had spent the entire afternoon trying to get the petite brunette out to the beach. She had a reputation for being ‘easy’. I was frustrated from Kyla’s refusals. She wanted me to wait until after college. Four more years was an eternity for a teenage boy.

“Yes, she does.” A match flared before John’s face. He inhaled off the joint and then passed it to the front. I grabbed the joint from John. I inhaled like a cigarette. I had smoked one of those in 1964. I suspected the same result from the joint. Harsh fumes and coughing.

I was wrong.

I was a long-distance runner. My lungs sucked in a big hit of smoke. I didn’t exhale for 30 seconds. The plume exiting my mouth filled the VW with a cloud. At first I didn’t feel anything. The light turned green. I watched the color. It was so beautiful. I said the same to John. He agreed. Frank did too. The Misunderstood played CHILDREN OF THE SUN. We didn’t move for the entire song. A horn finally broke the trance. We were holding up traffic. I shifted into first and we drove to John’s house in Wollaston to smoke another joint. I was no longer straight. My life was different from before.

My friends laughed hysterically.

I joined them.

I was ruined for society and have remained FTW, especially on 4/20, National Smoke Day.

420 wasn’t the original choice for this holiday, however 4:20 was the mythical time that these pothead from San Rafael High School in California would meet at Louis Pasteur Statue to get high.

Hence 420.

Not much else to say other than I’m going out to break the law.

It’s time to free the weed.

If you got it, smoke it. I will.

The 420 Bus to Hollywood


Distances in LA tend to be far. North Hollywood to Beverly Hills was not too bad. The trip took twenty minute by car. I was living with Scottie Taylor in a pool house.

The year 1995. Late spring.

The owner ran a strip club off West Pico Boulevard. The girls sunbathed nude in the mornings. They were Jesus freaks. Scottie and I were sinners in their eyes. We were running a nightclub in Beverly Hills.

The Milk Bar.

Decor very CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

Clientele; young, semi-famous, and druggy.

The naked sunbathers’ prayer session interrupted my sleep and I’d stuff my ears with cotton. The Bible was reduced to mutterings. Jesus was not saving my soul. My wake-up hour was noon. Breakfast at a diner. Basketball at North Hollywood Park. A bicycle was my transportation. I had bought it from a junkie on Vineland. He wanted $50. I gave him $20.

Probably $10 too much.

My cousin Sherri lived on Hartsook. I spent my afternoons writing in her house, while she filmed XXX films with lesbians over in Van Nuys. Some of those girls were Jesus freaks too. None of them broke ranks, especially for a nightclub doorman without a car.

No one walks in LA. Only Losers. Walking gets you nowhere. The city is too big. Hitchhiking is illegal. The train system is a work in progress. Buses are the only transportation left for the lower classes.

Scottie had a car.

A mud-colored Pinto. Something was wrong with the steering. The brakes were long overdue for a change. Scottie was my ride to the Milk Bar most nights. We opened at 8.

Scottie and I had a problem.

The Simpson re-runs aired Sundays at 7:30. The show lasted 30 minutes. No one told jokes in LA. No one told stories either. Laughs were hard to find at the Milk Bar. Homer Simpson filled the gap.

“I can’t believe you are going to be late for a cartoon show.” Scottie only watched the History Channel. He liked to be serious.

“It’s not a cartoon. It’s the Simpsons. You could always watch it with me.”

“I own the club. I have 20 people who work for me. They get there at 8. I get there before them. Otherwise they’ll come in late. Like you.”

“I don’t mind taking the bus.” The 420 ran over the Hollywoods Hills to Sunset Boulevard. I caught another bus on the corner. It went to Beverly Hills. The trip took 45 minutes. Sometimes less. Sometimes more. “Besides no one comes until 10.”

“You ever think about giving a good impression.” Scottie didn’t shave. His clothing dated back five years. He was driving a Pinto.

‘Not out here.” I wasn’t trying to be in the movies. My novel was about the last man on earth. Pornography too. Dirty cops. Lesbians. Murder. High-tech sex. I was on chapter 23. 200 pages plus. The end was off in the distance. “I’m on time the nights the Simpsons aren’t on.”

“What about the nights with Star Trek?” Scottie knew my schedule.

“That’s VOYAGER.” Seven of Nine was sexier than any of the Bible strippers. “Monday night.”

“I can’t believe it.” Scottie would leave me in the pool house.

I’d sit before the TV. A glass of water in my hand. The clock on the wall ticking its way to 8. It was time for the Simpsons.

Ha ha ha.

Valley Of Pot


August 1972 was five years past San Francisco’s Summer of Love. A college friend from Crane’s Beach and I had hitchhiked from Boston to the West Coast in 45 hours. A mutual girlfriend, Marilyn, was hostessing topless at a Barbary Coast strip club. 3 months’ tips paid a year’s tuition.

After a few hugs and kisses, the 19 year-old nursing student gave us the address of a crash pad. She had little time for us. Her boyfriend was a biker, the VP of the Skulls. It was obvious that Marilyn wasn’t fucking either of us this trip and the biker warned us to fuck off.

Rico was actually nice about it.

Marilyn said that she would see us in September.

Peter and I aimlessly wandered around the city; the defunct Haight-Ashbury, idyllic Golden Gate Park, and the fleshpots of the Barbary Coast. The hippies had been replaced by junkies and queers. Peter was a botany major and wanted to see the redwoods.

I called Marilyn to say ‘goodbye’.

The biker answered and said, “Like she said see you in September, but if you see me, it will be in hell.”

“Not me, but I’ll be fucking Marilyn in September. Fuck you.”

It was a brave challenge over a phone, but I didn’t feel safe until a pick-up gave us a ride across the Golden gate Bridge over to Sausalito. We traveled up Route 101 through the wine counties to the redwood forest. We slept surrounded by arboreal giants more ancient than Rome. The next day we reached Arcata in the early morning. A hippie coming south warned us against hitchhiking further north on 101.

“Rednecks and no rides. Could take you a week to reach Oregon.”

His adverse advice was accompanied by the paranoia aftermath of the shared joint. Peter and I headed inland through the Trinity Alps. 299 wound through steep-sloped valleys fortresses by wilderness evergreens. Willow Creek to Burnt Ranch to Big Bar to Junction City and finally Weaverville.

The town was miles from anywhere. An unspoken prosperity had enlivened the previously moribund Gold Rush town. The cars were new and the diners filled with hungry customers, mostly long-haired men in buckskins and tea shades. The waitress was a moonchild. Her smile promised a good time.

“Pot growers.” Peter whispered with admiration. We had financed this trip by the sale of two pounds of Jamaica Red. The town smelled of weed, sinsemilla to be exact.

“This is the ideal place to grow pot.” He looked at the steep hills surrounding the town.

Several heads turned our direction.

The townies were used to being discreet. I shrugged an apology. Outside of the street Peter and I discussed pooling our money to set up a marijuana plantation. $500 could grow into $1000. Next year maybe $100,000. I almost walked back inside the diner to ask the dealers for a job, but a roar of motorcycles shattered the town’s serenity.

A pack of Harleys rolled up to the diner. The hippie bon vivants greeted the leathered bikers as long-lost brothers. They looked like heavier versions of Rico. Only five years ago the Hell’s Angels had killed off the Age of Aquarius with the murder at Altamont Speedway during the Rolling Stones’ SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL. Weed growers and bikers glared at Peter and me with hostility.

I lifted my hand to indicate that we were leaving.

No one bothered to watch us go.

Peter and I tried out hands at dealing back in Boston. I was no good at it. Peter paid for his tuition and the following summer went out to San Francisco with Marilyn to work as a bartender in the strip club. Neither of them returned to college in the fall. I heard about them from other friends. They were living north of the Bay Area.

His one year of botany made him the Einstein of the marijuana growers. Several of his future strains were mentioned in HIGH TIMES magazine.

And I couldn’t have been prouder.

At least one of us had gotten to live the dream.

Going To Hell

1. An Indian man dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates. “Yes, how can I help?” asks St Peter. “I’m here to meet Jesus,” says the Indian man. St Peter looks over his shoulder and shouts, “Jesus, your cab is here!”

2. What’s the difference between the real Jesus and a picture of Jesus? It only takes one nail to hang up the picture.

3. Did you know that after the crucification, Jesus pretty much lost his sweet tooth? The M&Ms kept falling through the holes in his hands.

4. What did Jesus say when they removed his hands from the cross? *waves arms frantically* FEET FIRST!!

5. What did Jesus say as he was being crucified? “Ahhhhhhhhhhh…!”

Is there any better way to celebrate Good Friday?