Baudelaire: Only a Mild Debauchee

by Mathieu Laca

I’m currently taking a slow dive deep into the history of cannabis via Martin A. Lee’s excellent Smoke Signals, published in 2012. Although not current with the rapidly developing legal recreational industry, the history is rock solid and rich in detail. I was intrigued and not a little bemused today when reading about marijuana’s route into Romantic-era France (via colonial Egypt) and its use by those enfant terribles, the original socialist revolutionary punks, the French Romantic poets. What struck me as notable was learning about Baudelaire, the “debauchee’s debauchee“, who became a bit of a marijuana alarmist late in life. Continue reading “Baudelaire: Only a Mild Debauchee”

Touch Tone Tuners & D-E-V-O D-E-V-O-T-E-E-S

Front cover

This is one of those unique artifacts from a bygone aural era, when technological innovation was ad hoc & DIY meant by any means necessary. DEVOTEES is an incredible album – an incredibly weird album – that captures a moment in time, after punk’s “year zero” yet before “new wave” became smooth and overproduced.

This album also gives a hint of what KROQ 106.7 FM was doing at the time, how free form it was and willing to take chances putting out an album like this…after running a listener contest for content submissions. Hands down, the best track on the LP is “Jocko Homo” (there are 2 versions on the LP), arranged for touch tone telephone and recorded by…The Touch Tone Tuners. In 1979 lotsa folks still had rotary telephones, and although touch tone phones were clearly the new normal, there was still a kind of novelty about it. I remember playing out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the 9, 6 & 3 buttons. Continue reading “Touch Tone Tuners & D-E-V-O D-E-V-O-T-E-E-S”

A Summer Pairing: Topanga Harvest Minis & Timmy Nolan’s Irish Pub

Downstairs bar at Timmy Nolan's
Timmy Nolan’s in Toluca Lake (downstairs)

I’m always looking for new, local spots to satisfy my palate when my meds potentiate my appetite…especially around mealtime. July evenings, after the intense summer heat of the day transitions to mellow, breezy warmth is the perfect time to hit the sidewalks in a perambulatory exploration for a satisfying supper. The optimal walking weather makes it possible to medicate before stepping out for the evening meal, turning the simple quest into a fun adventure. You are probably more likely to encounter restaurants that fail to satisfy if you’re navigating blindly. Yelp is a worthy advance guide to mediate any aimless meandering, which can be devastating if the destination doesn’t meet some basic expectations. Fortunately we did consult Yelp a few nights ago and then navigated about a half mile or so to the unassuming on the outside, yet rollicking on the inside Irish pub & grill called Timmy Nolan’s, located on Riverside in Toluca Lake, CA. Continue reading “A Summer Pairing: Topanga Harvest Minis & Timmy Nolan’s Irish Pub”

That Time My Parents Caught Me Smoking Herb in My Bedroom

I was the guy in high school whom each of my friends blamed when their parents found their bongs.

John Candy as "Dr. Braino" on SCTV
SCTV’s “Dr. Braino”

I wasn’t exactly my high school’s Dr. Braino, but by age 15 I was headed in that direction. I talked about cannabis, read about it, listened to songs about it and evoked it all directly and indirectly through my personal style. If nothing else, I presented myself as someone more than willing to buck conventional wisdom, question authority, and open the doors of perception so that I could be free…without being hassled by the man…and get loaded. Continue reading “That Time My Parents Caught Me Smoking Herb in My Bedroom”