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 Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comedian, takes the edge off of the world and explains all those unexplained things in a way that will make you either laugh or cry.

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Saturday
Apr232011

President Obama Forgets

President Obama’s fund raising drive continued in San Francisco yesterday with a financial pow-wow at the St. Regis Hotel downtown. The President was met by some seventy-five Medical Marijuana protesters who had arrived at seven AM at 3rd and Mission. The protesters were carrying homemade signs and chanting how the president has turned his back on the Medical Marijuana community.

“We’re here because Obama hasn’t provided safe access for patients that need their medicine. Raids are continuing on dispensaries,” David Goldman of Americans for Safe Access explained over his coffee cup. “The IRS is putting pressure on the banks that do business with anyone in the Medical Marijuana community. The IRS is also disallowing expenses to be used as deductions. No sane business can operate without allowing deductions.”

What would you like President Obama to do?

“Reschedule Marijuana from a Schedule One drug to a Schedule Three drug. Then be consistent with what he said in his campaign. That he wouldn’t go after Medical Marijuana patients. The opposite is true,” Mr. Goldman stated clearly.

Clint from Colorado Springs was walking into Peet’s for coffee when he noticed the protesters.

Toke: May I ask how you feel about Medical Marijuana?

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know,” the clear-eye Colorado man muses. “Do I think there are applications for Marijuana for people who are in pain and suffering? Absolutely. But do I think that there are individuals taking advantage of the system? Yes.”

Toke: Personally, where do you stand on the issue of legalization?

“I know it works in Colorado Springs for some people. But I like things to be black or white. Either make it legal or not. I don’t like the ambiguousness of the issue.”

A couple of veterans held signs garnering the attention of the national media present. One of the soldiers mentioned that even though the Veterans Administration has approve Medical Marijuana for returning vets who are experiencing Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Feds will not allow for those veterans to use marijuana medicinally. If they do, they stand to lose their benefits for using an unapproved drug.

Even though the government has okayed your use?

The unnamed veteran of three tours just smiled and said, “Crazy, huh?”

 The morning commute communicated its approval with honks and shouts by the supportive cars and trucks passing by. Others had no idea that the president was about to speak across the street at the St. Regis and wondered why there were so many hippie types up so early.

By the time the president and the big black SUV’s pulled up to the side entrance, he was in and gone before he had a chance to read a sign.

But Greg of ‘Black and Brown Just Cannabis Policy’ is hopeful. “We met some new friends and talk to some people about the issues. We’re serious. President Obama is forgetting who got him there. We’re just not potheads. We’re patients. He needs to keep his commitment to us. For many people, it’s life or death. The president needs to be as serious with us patients as he is with raising money.”

 

 

 



Saturday
Apr232011

April, 20th, 2011- Hippie Hill, Golden Gate Park.


It starts on the downbeat about an hour before noon. Five cats in assorted guises from assorted backgrounds bang on congas, snares, and on upside-down five-gallon buckets, pounding out an Afro-beats while the first couple hundred of celebrators mosey their way into Golden Gate Park, and to establish themselves at party central headquarters, Hippie Hill.

It will be another five hours or so before the land and the world as we know it will bend in time. The reality that we call Marijuana for some, will change their conscientiousness and for others just take their change. For now, everything seems copacetic, tranquil, and even sedate with just of a hint of backbeat in the air. Since early morning, folks of all creeds, colors, genders and baseball affiliations, whether Giant’s or A’s, have been streaming in to what should be the biggest pot party this side of Seattle. Soon there will be nothing but grins, smiles and a lot of nodding. But for now, there are some five hundred people who are animated; chatting gaily laying down blankets and lugging coolers as more and more stoners appears every minute, getting ready for…something.

 

12:30PM, Downtown San Francisco.

Most of the major dispensaries are offering “Twenty Dollar Eighths” or some other 4/20 special like a free doob or bud. Many have raffles and drawings. SPARC, D-Tree, Medithrive had lines way out the door, with security handling the over-flow. It is a bad day to say hello to friends working in the industry. Everyone’s busy.

Walking from the Haight to the Mission to the Downtown area, a parade of well-wishers and Four-Twentyer’s moved through the City like floats in Ganja Mardi Gras procession. The home team was well represented by the leaves of green strung around the beautiful young maidens’ hippie dresses as they walked in flip-flops over puddles on this overcast San Franciscan day. Dudes in hot red jerseys flashed 420 slogans or something spelled out on their sweatshirts like, “Get Stoned” or “Got Stone?” All were orderly and polite with trails of blue haze following.

If you had a problem with the stench of marijuana smoke, San Francisco probably wasn’t the place for you then. Because of the low cloud covering, it was like someone had Saran-wrapped the City. The smell of weed had enclosed the City from the ocean to the Embarcadero. No one was safe from its odor.

President Obama had left earlier in the morning for an important meeting with Jesse Eisenberg in the South Bay, missing the pot perfume by a couple of hours. The presidential motorcade, along with the city’s perennial downtown construction, made bus service a snail crawl. The ‘71 Haight’, the bus that went directly to Golden Gate Park was filled to the gills with hemp-wearing folks.

Four-Twenty has been happening unofficially in Golden Gate Park for many years now, and the City still doesn’t recognize the need for more public transportation. By the numbers queuing up in line, waiting to get on the’71 Haight’ buses, you could tell they were out-of-towners. All the locals used the underground buses or the less common or known ones.

Hippie Hill is three miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Because of the President’s appearance, or because of construction, or maybe because the members of the Woodstock Nation, the Lollapalooza kids, and Michael Franti’s friends decided to have a get together, the City was clogged and many chose to dance and stroll to the Park in the slight rain. Think like it was a checker board and someone tipped it sloping west with all the pieces sliding and laughing along Fell and Oak Streets.

I can’t imagine what it is like for someone who isn’t getting high on Four-Twenty? Do they sit indoors with canned food, Chuck Norris VHS’s and pray?

3:30PM Hippie Hill.

The Park isn’t in the way I left it. At the entrance on Haight, a gauntlet of gentlemen in fake black leather inquire to the passer-byers if by chance they might need some marijuana for their afternoon’s enjoyment. Edibles are everywhere. Already I’ve heard that some edibles are made with swag and even less, and won’t get you buzzed. As soon as you clear the trippy tunnel, lines of vendors, more edibles and bud-sellers greet you, offering party favors and cold drinks.

Every year Four-Twenty in Golden Gate Park gets larger in population and commerce. It always starts the same way with a low-tech beginning; a drum circle and a few boom boxes playing some old school riffs. By three o’clock, there are anywhere’s from seven to ten sound systems set-up with DJ’s and turntables blaring the ticking of the nanu-beats the kids like to dance to. By most estimates, there are four thousand stoners in the Park and more on the way.

Some stoners do work.

Adam, Brandi with an ‘I” and Chris came in from Modesto for the celebration. “This is my fifth time being here,” Adam says with a big grin. “It used to be just a few of us up there on the hill, maybe there were six hundred people. Now, it’s like…Wow!”

“This is my first time,” Brandi giggles with a wink. Chris nods along letting others do the talking while he tokes on their ceramic pipe.

“But we’re all here for one reason…” Adam says taking his turn on the pipe.

It was a celebration for sure. All age types were there but it looked like if you were between the ages of 16 and 28, you were with your people. To be sure, there wasn’t a dress code or age limit for the event. All were welcome but I think the more comfortable in felt in a dorm, the more at home you would have felt here.

A couple in their sixties, dressed in kakis and rain gear seemed a little bewildered and out of place stood on the edge of the crowd.

“We were at the museum and ran into this…gathering,” Brenda of the Central Valley said. “We didn’t know this was happening.” She says surprised. “But he,” she points to her male partner,” I thinks he wants to get loaded.”

The male partner smiles eyeing a circle passing a joint.

 

A Little before 4:20.

Remember that not one poster went up. I don’t believe I saw one posting on Facebook regarding the 4/20 celebration in the Park. It’s all word of mouth. Like the eternal joint being passed from generation to generation. And then it happens.

Looking at the clock on my phone, it reads 4:18. Then I hear, 10, 9, 8, 7,…..1. Oh well…

Then there were cheers. Then there was smoke. Then someone to mark the occasion, stupidly set off a M-80 or some other loud, reverberating type of firecracker. Then there were cops on horses. Then there was more pot smoke. Then things were normal again. That all happen in a Golden Gate minute.

More and more people joined the festivities. Work was letting out and more were showing up in suits and non-hemp oriented material. Marijuana was everywhere. The cops kept to themselves off to the side. They were jovial and helpful.

Some kids were selling home-made T-shirts with hand-written fonts saying, “Hippie Hill 2011.” A person asks them if they will trade a t-shirt for an edible. They say they’ll have to call their dad on the cell and see if that’s okay. They’re out selling for him. They were serious.

 

Later that same night

I went to see the very funny Ngaio Bealum with his ganja-gang of jokesters at the Punchline downtown. Ed Rosenthal was there. Because I had an appointment with the President in the morning, sadly I needed to duck out early before the legendary after-hours party was going to start.   

At ten in the night, the Haight was still jamming. The Big Lebowski was letting out at the Red Vic and more were in line for the late show. Escape from New York pizza had a bad case of the munchies if the massive line out the door was any indication of where stoners go for their pie.

Officer Albie Esparza, the public information officer for San Francisco Police stated that there were six arrest made during the whole day. Three attendees needed medical attention. I asked the very gracious officer if she could give me her opinion on how she thought the day went. “Well, we can’t really give you our opinions, but I’d say, for the five thousand that attended, I’d say it was a relatively relaxed event, for us and them.” the officer slyly recited.   

As I walked home through the Haight watching the packed buses carrying the 4-20ers off to where ever they go, I thought about the officer’s words, very relaxed event. It was.

Just like marijuana itself. Now if we can just teach the world. We can have a day where strangers from all over come together, all for the same reason. Without fanfare or Ticketmaster or the digital press, and it still happens. And no one gets hurt, relatively relaxed speaking.

Peace.

 

Tomorrow, my meeting with the president.

 

 

 



Friday
Apr082011

Ah One, Ah Two and Ah One Toke over...

Wednesday
Apr062011

Ten Reasons Dispensaries are Better than going to a Dealer 

 




1)    No Shady Scenes.

We’ve all been there, a 7/11 parking lot late at night where every Slurpee-buying shopper looks like an undercover cop. You’ve just parked your buddy’s car near an apartment downtown where all the neighbors know why you’re walking towards that particular door. Or worse, a friend of a friend who just got out of jail has some killer stuff that will make the whole cross town drive worth it. You name it; we all have a variety of reasons why we will go the extra mile to procure the best stuff possible, sometimes even when the risks are higher than you are.

Now, my closest dispensary is eight blocks away, (a small industrial trailer where they may only have seven to twelve different varieties of Medical Marijuana) but I go to the old reliable, my mainstay downtown on Geary Funny story; I was on my way home on the bus with three clones in a odorless paper-bag. There were two other dudes on the bus who were also clutching paper bags. They’re all-knowing nods and smiles made me feel like we all belong to the same book club.

Going to a Dispensary is incredibly safe compared to my almost forty years of scoring on the street.

2)    Choice.

At my mainstay they have about twenty to thirty varieties each of Indicas, Sativas and now, the very popular Hybrids, for all the baby bears out there that need something in the middle, stacked like good friends next to each other in five gallon mayonnaise jars in a glass cabinet/counter.

Some days the choices are overwhelming. I am more apt to ask one of my Bud-tenders what they like. If some of the guys I’ve got to know over the years are working behind the counter like the Big Kahuna or Mikey the Great, I asked them what’s good for back pain or if I have to work, what won’t heavy me out and allow me to sit and type for fourteen hours. Once a personal relationship is established with your Budtender you’re golden. They tell me what medicine is going to work for me best and I’ve never gone wrong.

Going to a dealer, if you don’t like what they have or turn down their product, it hurts they’re feelings. At the Dispensary, they could care less. There’s another person behind you that will take the WEED you said ‘No’ to.

3)    No reason to stock up.

Before I had my card, if I my stash was getting low, below half ounce, I have to start to make calls to ensure I had product for the future. It was always a process of never running out. Many times I bought Marijuana when I didn’t need it or particularly needed to have it, but the idea of running out or worse- not being able to get any Marijuana because the town was dry or my Man was out of town, would be unacceptable for me.

 The whole deal about instant gratification is getting it when you want it.

With a Dispensary, I sometimes smoke less, really, because I know the pot store is going to be there tomorrow. There’s no rush, man. It’s all cool. One doesn’t need to maintain a bulging inventory unless one likes to have a lot of different shit around the crib to smoke.

Total transparency-Dispensaries are a lot like going to the grocery store. You go in with a budget, but if you’re stoned and have the munchies, you spend more than you’d planned to. Same thing with the Dispensaries- You go in for a Q.T. but the Trainwreck is off the rails and the Dragon’s Breath is out of this world. It’s easy to spend another hundo without trying. And, mark my words, you don’t want to go in there sober...You spend less when you’re already high. Sober, you feel like a Make-A-Wish kid walking into Disneyland. That first time walking into a Dispensary, there’s nothing like it.

4)    You don’t have to buy there.

After getting my MM card, I Googled the pot shop locations and made maps for day trips in an effort to explore all the Magic Kingdoms waiting for this new patient. After checking out the third or fourth place I went to, I slowly realized that I didn’t have to score from every place I entered. If a dispensary’s medicine wasn’t up to my standards or they was just something funky about the place that I didn’t like, I can leave.

The great thing about having a MM card, if you don’t like the customer service or any other thing that directs you to one enterprise over another- why someone prefers Whole Foods over Trader Joe’s for example, exist in the Pot world too. Competition makes for a buyer’s market. One of the Pot Shops here in town has coined the phrase of the ‘Home of the 4-gram eighths,’ as a marketing tool to compete with the other guys. For half a gram, I don’t know, but for some people...

Speaking of other guys—growing up, this one guy in the Middle-west I once bought from, sold what he called his exotics, the good stuff, in bags that weighed 5-grams, but he sold them as quarter-ouncers. Why, because he could.

5)    You can get exactly what you want.

I made the mistake for my first few months of getting the strongest medicine available. I’d walk in and ask one of the boys for their most potent strain of Indy. The real dick-in-the road, polio-inducing, Snoop-Dogg crippling WEED that was guaranteed to hurt. Then I’d spend the rest of the day on the floor.

Now if I need some speedy stuff to write with or some night time stuff that makes John Stewart funnier but still understandable, I know what to ask for, or as I said, I let my Bud-Tender make a recommendation. You don’t take antibiotics when you need a sleeping pill, do you? One shouldn’t take an Indica when a nice Sativa or Hybrid is what you actually need. Its 2011, it time for this stuff to make sense.

6)    Hash, edibles and Clones, Oh my!


Dispensaries have more than Marijuana. While I am not a fan of the modern hash I see, I prefer your old school surfboards of Afghani or Lebanese, oppose to this water-based bubble hash, it is great to have the choice.

I did go through an intense edible period at first though. A small little fun fact, pot brownies and the like are as fattening as their non-magic brothers and sisters. I started to put on some weight after getting my card and couldn’t figure it out until I realized I was doing my new faves, pot caramels and toffee almost daily. A word to the wise and over-weight out there, those little candies can sneak up on you a couple of different ways.

As I stated above, I planted some clones. I’ve gone country. I’ll let you know as the crop progresses.

7)    If you Love WEED...


It’s Friday, a big weekend is coming up. In fact, it is a holiday weekend with Monday being day-off for those that have to leave the house. You’re in line at your favorite Dispensary, and the line is long (seven deep). Everyone wants to score their shit and get on with their lives. Then that moment happens, a feeling of tranquility falls over the Dispensary as the patients realize the uniqueness of the local and what is transpiring in front of us. We’re all buying WEED legally in a place that is authorized to legally sell it. It just doesn’t get any better than this and we all know it.

8)    The WEED is so outrageously good.


Durbin Poison, GDP, those stoopid Kushes that I complain about but still buy. Skunks, Diesels, and everyday there seems to be a new strain discovered or genetically altered, that really, the shit is too good to turn down. Some days, it is very hard to say no. Luckily I don’t have the cash to go nuts. Just enough to go crazy.

And there are thirty dispensaries in my town competing for potheads with the lure of great pot and all kinds of organically-grown Medical Marijuana.  

I’ve actually had to ask for medicine that isn’t so strong. What we call at home, ‘For the ladies...’

9)    There are a lot of them...


Like my friends who do tours of the Wine Country in Napa and Sonoma, I could also tour the dispensaries of Northern California, excuse me, did I say Northern California? I meant the Bay Area. With so many dispensaries in Berkeley, Oakland, and others throughout the East Bay, there is a world out there still undiscovered for the Cannabis explorer. But then I’d have to leave the house.

 


10)  It just makes sense.

The difference in going to a Dispensary opposed to going over to strangers or friend’s house for pot is almost like the difference between shopping at an Airport kiosk or small corner market for groceries instead of going to Food World. The smaller the place, the less choice you have at, ironically, a higher price. With the advent of dispensaries, the price of Marijuana hasn’t dropped dramatically for the consumers on this side of the counter. (It is a different story for growers.)

 

No matter what you’ve read, the good news is because the world hasn’t fallen apart with the openings of dispensaries. Crime hasn’t taken over neighborhoods and life has gone on.

For adults to have the ability of going into a safe, secure environment to pursue their own form of happiness, makes perfect sense in a perfect libertarian sort of way.

For me, after risking my life more than once in order to get high, sad but true, Dispensaries only make sense. The time has come to grow up, tax us if you must, but give us access to what we’ve been buying in the dark of night from strangers for years on our own.

What is it, 43 million Americans smoke pot either regularly or just at parties or when they come over to my house. Let’s not play games anymore. Open your doors and let the Black Market in. We’ll all be the better for it.



Thursday
Mar312011

Republican Fool’s Day

Republicans aren’t stupid, they just don’t care. They don’t have to. Poll yesterday showed more and more Americans believe that our president wasn’t born here and that he is possibly a Muslim. The numbers are going up. Why you ask would otherwise sane people believe that our president really isn’t ‘Merican, even when Bill O’Reilly states he was born here and the “Birther” talk is nonsense? Because it works.

The smart money is still is betting on Obama for 2012. But the crazy money bett’n on Kenya, and I as pointed out above, being a believer of Birtherism right now is like hitting a fixed Vegas slot-machine.

As we saw this week when Donald Trump threw his rug into the ring on ‘Meet the Press’ ‘The View’, he opened with how unsure he was about Obama being born here and in the same breath literally mentioned that he wasn’t even sure that he was a Christian. This one-two punch is the modern form of filing fee for entry into contemporary politics.

Does Donald Trump really think he can be president? Hell, no. But The Donald can smell a revenue stream like an old man with a divining rod. “There’s money to be made in them ignorant hills.” So as soon as Mr. Trump is done firing a gaggle of B-listers, he says he’s ready to straighten his hair and take on the challenges of running one of the largest economies in the world. Then we get to watch a rich guy get richer.

Take a look at Mike “Aw Shucks Huck” Huckabee. Preacher/ bass player/talk show host. Before the Huckster entered politics he was a regular guy with some folksy down home wisdom that for a couple of seconds, even played on the Democratic side. He seemed to occupy some of that middle-ground that the late John McCain used to preside over before he became Uncle Cranky. But then he ran for president on the Republican ticket. Did he win? Yes!

He has that talk show. He’s part of the puppet show on Fux. He can pretend like he’s really interested in running again so much so that while his PAC takes in exploratory money, he can his campaign can pocket why he’s deciding. Big Mike is now worth like twelve times over from where he was just four years ago.

Why wouldn’t you run? What could be the downside?

The strong Republican contenders are staying away the political mine field of 2012 because they’d rather wait for better chances of success for themselves than to really care about where the country is headed. For Mitt Romney, that polished mannequin and others who are being molded and fitted with the Frank Luntz earpiece and the Kock Bros. back-hump transistor that W. had strapped on for his debates.  They wait their turn as the groomers and fluffers prepare the candidates for their eventual placement on a Republican ticket. But only when the overlord masters in the Rovian towers says so.

So the strong ponies are sitting this one out. They sit patiently in the owner’s booth waiting for a better day at the track, when the odds are more on their side.

That leaves an opening for the idealistic ones like Tim “I can’t find my own fuse” Pawlenty. That firecracker of a candidate, who because for the simple fact that he’s been married to the same women, plays hockey and has never been a member of the Klan, looks to be the golden child of the field.

 But back to my original point, it just doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter who is running to be the head of the Republican ticket, At this point in the game, it is not about winning; it’s about making money.

That trash-talker, maker of new words, Sarah Palin, you couldn’t shake her from her Facebook perch. Look at the Divine Sarah P. Saddled with all the trappings of present-day society, the reality show, lucky enough to be a commentator on Fux, being their word-can’t-find-it pundit; she’s pulling in around 12 mill a year now. That’ll put some gas in your snow machine.

Because the Republican base doesn’t care and doesn’t have a memory, at this point, they just want someone white. It could even be a woman.

The Republican base is the reason this country is where we are.

Apparently all the problems we are experiencing right now, all started election night in 2008. When Barak Obama was elected, the Christian god became angry. For some reason, half the population of this country believes that in three years, that soul Negro has uprooted the trees of Freedom and slid this economy into the shitter. It was all him. From the moment we elected him, it is his fault.

And the base believes this.

Haley Barbour’s proud as mud pie to be representing the state that’s fiftieth in health care. Mississippi is the forty-eighth dumbest in the nation. And Ol’ Miss is the fattest state, highest in poverty and third in the country in their porn watchin’, and Haley’s looking good.

Because it just doesn’t matter.

We’re getting ready to go back into another recession. For more than two years the Republicans on the Hill have done nothing but are against whatever Obama is for. Since our president assumed the office, their strategy has been to sit on their hands. And their base, the citizens who elected these politicians to office. They love it. The more they do nothing, the happier the base is.

Imagine going to work and half your co-workers decide to sit these next couple of years out, and still get paid and being able to collect their health insurance. You’re doing your job and they’re sitting down, checking out YouTube on the company’s computer. Every once in a while they stick their lumpy heads up to tell you what you’re doing wrong. They’re biggest complaint is that you should have more help and then they go back to watching a cat playing piano.   

I really don’t know who the Republicans are any more. The past Republican presidents have expanded government and have intruded into the American homes as much as their Democratic counterparts. The Republicans seem to be for something, but it is a secret. I know what they’re against, but they won’t say what they’re for.

And it just doesn’t matter.

In America today you quit your job halfway through it and still are seen as a contender for the highest position in the land. You can divorce your previous two wives, one while she’s in a coma and another through email. You can be in the Klan.

But what you can’t do…is to be black. Otherwise, what is it about this president that makes half the population think he’s different? That he’s not from here. What is it?

Tell me something the Republicans have done in the last five years that hasn’t involved reversing a policy or changing an existing law. What have they done for this country?

 Oh yeah, it just doesn’t matter.

It’s Obama fault.

 



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