Home Theater for Stoners

In order to expand the topics I cover a bit (life, is, after all, about more than cannabis), I’m going to begin featuring excerpts from the books and articles I’ve written under different pen names.

Most of us like music. Especially when consuming cannabis.


I’ve always enjoyed helping people understand and embrace modern technology. In the case of home theater, this tech can bring together families in front of a big display panel for a new movie release on a shiny little disc—or, increasingly, streamed from the internet.

Any Budget

You can enjoy family photos, MP3 songs, or home videos stored on a computer that resides nearly anywhere on your wi-fi network. All using nothing more than a decent Blu-ray player (playing discs covers only one-third the functionality of modern Blu-ray players).

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Virtuoso folk/blues guitarist Joe Rollin Porter.

If nothing else, please understand that you can enjoy full surround sound, high-definition video, and all the glory of modern home theater on any budget. The most common misperception of home theater is that it’s too expensive and you can’t afford it.

But you can. Trust me.

— Gooey Rabinski

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As consumers, we’re in the middle of multiple transition periods within the home electronics and entertainment industries. These changes are in the form of rapid advances in both hardware and services. It’s no longer uncommon for one to have a 60-inch display panel hanging in their living room, to be one of the 50 million people who watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, or to be among the 76 million consumers who listen to music on Pandora each month. These don’t constitute early adopter status in today’s world of home entertainment.

Since Apple introduced its iconic iPod line of portable music players in 2001, the human race has been slowly transitioning from entertaining itself by purchasing physical media, like optical discs, to instead downloading songs from iTunes or streaming movies or TV from services like Hulu or Vudu. Today the average consumer has more home entertainment options than ever—along with a more detailed and potentially confusing array of technologies and media sources.

What Defines Home Theater?

Let’s define a few things. First, a home theater isn’t mobile. It’s not a laptop with a set of headphones (even if the laptop features a Blu-ray player). Home theater is four basic components:

  • Display panel
  • Audio/video receiver
  • Blu-ray player
  • Five+ specialized speakers

These are the elements necessary for full-on home theater and how it’s defined in this book. Anything short of these elements doesn’t cut it in terms of home “theater.” While it could be argued that a set top box for bringing audio and video content into your home theater is a necessity, some cord cutters are perfectly happy with physical discs from Redbox or a local video store.

One of the most common configurations for consuming TV programming and movies is a display panel TV with two input devices: A Blu-ray player and a
cable/satellite set-top box (using only the speakers on the TV). Maybe there’s a game console or DVR thrown in the mix. But this also isn’t home theater (where’s the audio/video receiver and rear surround speakers?).

Connecting Components

In the past, the task of connecting home theater components was confusing. Different components connected with different standards and there were separate connections for audio and video. For the layperson, connecting components was a headache and typically resulted in either a frustratingly botched job, professional installation (planned or unplanned), or scouring web-based forums desperately seeking help from others. Today it’s different. Now it’s all a single standard that transports both audio and video, and does it in Blu-ray-quality high definition: HDMI. Say it with me: H-D-M-I. It’s all you need to know.

Surround Sound

In terms of audio, the difference between a “stereo system” and a “home theater” is surround sound, which has been relatively common for well over a decade. Without a collection of surround sound speakers, home theater can’t exist. Today, a significant portion of broadcast and cable TV programming—and nearly all movies produced in the past decade—are delivered with a six-channel or greater audio mix that requires a surround speaker configuration and compatible audio/video receiver to be fully appreciated.

Discrete Channels

Surround sound isn’t just about adding more speakers in your living room. It’s about discrete channels of audio information coming from specific locations within your listening environment. In other words, the producers of a TV show or movie can purposefully make, say, the voices of the characters come from the speaker directly below your TV, where they’ll be the most realistic.

Meanwhile, background noises—such as barking dogs, slamming doors, and guns firing—can be directed to the rear speakers. The ability of content producers to utilize between five and twelve speakers in your living room, in a predictable arrangement, is why affordable home theater systems now rival the experience of going to a movie theater (and why commercial theater chains have to install football field-size screens with vibrating chairs just to get our attention).

Content Services

Content services that deliver streaming audio, video, and even games to your living room home theater have proliferated like crazy during the past few years. What’s interesting is that most people have labeled this the evolution of the internet, not home theater.

It’s all convoluted today, part computer and part stereo system. We’re in the middle of the convergence of computing/internet technologies and the hardware, software, and standards on which video and audio are affordably reproduced in the home. Home theater simply does not live up to its potential without the internet and broadband connectivity. Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Spotify, iTunes, and other internet-based services offer more content than you can ever consume. While your local liquor store might not sell you bourbon on Sunday, online streaming services are available on-demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Craft Cannabis Series: Colorado’s DuraBowl

In my cannabis travels, one of the most prominent themes I encounter is that of small craft businesses that fear the onslaught of large corporations during the current emergence of the American cannabis industry that is popularly labeled the “green rush.”

Often motivated almost entirely by profit—and with little true understanding of the cannabis plant or our culture—some fear that the megacorps will drive out the small players. The “mom and pop” shops, so to speak. 


Welcome to the first in a series of articles regarding the craft cannabis business in America in 2016. For this debut piece, an obvious candidate rose to the top of my list: Lauren Ely, the founder of DuraBowl

Craft Business Focus

Craft business lies at the heart of Americana. Millions of immigrants have come to this country to enjoy a way of life predicated on hard work, a competitive spirit, and the provision of quality and value to customers. It’s simply good karma. 

Wall St. profit mongering and mega-corporations may seem as “American” as Twitter, M&Ms, and the latest iPhone to the youth of today, but these social elements decidedly were not the goal of the founders of this nation. Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave—and that is not an intentional double entendre. 

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The DuraBowl: All the hip kids know. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl is one such small company. Based in Colorado and founded by Lauren Ely, a passionate advocate of freedom and human rights, this startup provides convenience, value, and practicality to its customers. 

I love being outside. Seems I’m either madly pumping my carbon fiber ballerina (bicycle) down a Texas highway to stay healthy or I’m stomping through shrubs and climbing sharp rocks to get that perfect sunset photo.

Regardless, I’m in love with the DuraBowl. Why? It simply works.

[The unit accommodates up to six grams of finely ground flowers, but concentrates can be added for a more medicated weekend. The solid ceramic construction means the DuraBowl is always cool to the touch. Allow the chamber to cool post-toke and replace the child-proof cap and you’re once again safely and securely on-the-go.]


Outside Medicine

When exploring the great outdoors, safely and conveniently storing and smoking cannabis is essential. Rainstorms happen (and are wonderful). However, smart stoners don’t take their heady glass when visiting the nation’s mountains, rivers, and beaches for good reason.

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Inclusive philosophies—and the execution thereof. (Credit: DuraBowl)

What about those in newly legal states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington? Or the stalwart genesis state of all things quality cannabis: California?

Coincidentally, these areas offer a wealth of outdoor activities and support what are arguably the most vibrant tourism markets in the nation. However, dropping an $80 glass pipe onto a rock face in Boulder or off a cliffside in Santa Cruz isn’t the type of pyrex problem that puts a smile on the face of most pot smokers….


DuraBowl = Tough Kit

Enter DuraBowl. This unique product, produced in Colorado by a small startup company, is what my British toker mates would call “tough kit.” I personally cherish my DuraBowl because it embodies a creative solution to smoking on-the-go. It is this innovative spirit that is at the heart of great products that serve customers of today—not yesterday.    

Affordable, practical cannabis smoking products—made in America—aren’t necessarily easy to find. With so much low-quality stuff mindlessly and unethically stamped out in China, products aimed squarely at fans of the cannabis culture, that also put Americans to work at fair wages, are a very refreshing change.

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In style at the cabin with the DuraBowl. (Credit: DuraBowl)

DuraBowl. It’s so simple. Maybe that’s the genius of it. But you don’t want to hear me wax lovingly about this affordable product. The words of Lauren Ely are much more impactful.

Lauren Ely, Founder/CEO DuraBowl

“I saw Ben Cohen, of Ben and Jerry’s fame, speak at the national convention in Vegas in 2014—I was so inspired. I hope to build a company known not only for its high-quality products, but also with a reputation for excellent ethics that gives back to the community.

“We have seen the result of profit at the expense of workers and the planet; it’s time to reverse that disastrous course.”

Q & A

The following Q&A was conducted with Lauren Ely, the founding CEO of DuraBowl, in May of 2016. I’ve met many greedy, shortsighted founders in the emerging cannabis industry; Ely isn’t one of them.

Toker tip: I have found a small 3/8″ screen to work perfectly in the DuraBowl.


Gooey Rabinski: “When did you decide to build a better pipe for cannabis consumers on-the-go?”

Lauren Ely: “This is something that most definitely evolved from my own experiences. I am a Gen Xer from the East Coast, so I grew up during the “Just Say No” years of prohibition. Not only was the brick weed terrible compared to Colorado kindbud, but the prevalence of paraphernalia was also limited.  

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Leaves on the flowers of healing.

“There is a saying in the cannabis culture that if you give a stoner some weed, but no pipe, they will suddenly become MacGyver in terms of their ingenuity.

“In college, I remember smoking out of apples, tin foil, and aluminum cans. Not only does metal taste terrible, it is being linked to Alzheimer’s disease! I wanted a better solution. I have also shattered many a glass bowl while away from my carpeting. I was also tired of my pockets and purses lined in weed. So we solved these problems with DuraBowl.”

[Ed: As shown in the photos herein, the DuraBowl features a child-proof twist-lock lid that prevents herb from escaping during transport or storage.]

GR: “How did living in Colorado inspire the design of your durable pipe?”

LE: “Colorado is an incredibly outdoorsy state. The culture here revolves around being outside in many different ways. We’re known for our winter mountain sports, of course. In the summer, there is hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and tubing. Most Colorado people love being active!

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DuraBowl: Part of one’s waterproof outdoor kit. (Credit: DuraBowl)

“For less physical culture, we have a great local music and comedy scene and our breweries are second to none. And, of course, even if you are just hanging out with buddies for a smoke sesh, the ease of transporting a loaded DuraBowl—or three—will make you a welcome and honored guest. Especially if it is filled with dank Colorado kindbud.

“I wanted something easily transportable to enjoy all the culture Colorado has to offer.”

GR: “Living in Austin, my house is 100 percent ceramic tile floors. I dropped the DuraBowl on the floor recently and was more concerned about the tile than your ceramic bowl. Fortunately, both survived my sloppiness….

“How important was achieving a reasonable price point so consumers can have two or three DuraBowls for a weekend of medicine and fun?”

LE: “Very important, not only for the purpose of having several you can load up and take out, but also because these pipes are brandable. I can brand with logos for companies (ask your local dispensary), but I can also do more fun branding.

“Holidays, festivals, jam bands…even personalized wedding pipes. We can do all of these things. So we wanted to achieve a price point that would allow our customers not only to have several for daily use, but as commemorative pieces as well.  

“The alcohol industry is doing this with wine labels now, so I wanted the cannabis aficionado to also have brandable, affordable item. It’s also a great price point for a small gift for the cannabis lover in your life. We are similarly priced to the larger, mass-produced bowls made in China. DuraBowl offers many more advantages, however.”

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Respecting the plant and patients.

GR: “What does the future hold for DuraBowl?”

LE: “We are currently out-of-stock and about to produce our next run. We are a baby company, indeed. But we’re excited that we have gotten some really good reviews—as well as some helpful suggestions regarding how we can improve our product as we grow.

“I would definitely like to offer more design options for our consumers in terms of color, cap design, and different bore sizes—for both the novice and experienced smoker.

“We also are looking at adding some other products that fit with our mission, which is brandability and portability for the smoker on-the-go. Hopefully soon you will find the DuraBowl on the shelves of local dispensaries, head shops, and convenience stores that sell pipes.”


I got “lifted,” as my Austin-based CBD mentor Dr. Ed Martino would say, to write this article with some graciously accepted Northern California outdoor organic—stuffed in a DuraBowl while listening to vampire songs on Spotify.

It was pretty groovy. I encourage you to try it.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Inspirational Photos for Friends

I’ve taken quite a few photos over the years. I actually prefer photography to writing; it is more fluid, more personal. I can communicate so much more with so much less.

These photos represent what is important in my life. Hopefully they can help you determine what is important in yours—and why each day is worth the price. 


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Bean Rabinski: Master of Teen Social Media

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Young stoners on Mount Tabor in Portland, 4/20/16.

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Clone room at a Eugene, Oregon cultivation facility.

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The vampire bar in Austin, Texas.

Eddy Lepp displays the fattie winner at the rolling contest

Eddy Lepp rolls them fat—and fast.

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One of my better photos. The American Midwest.

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The Muse in Humboldt County, California.

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

Two rolled by Eddy Lepp in Lake Co., California (2006)

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The Yeti at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland.

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A charismatic model in Austin, Texas.

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Grow room in Humboldt County, California.

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Some of my fave pot mags.

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One of my better photos; Toronto Budbabes (2007).

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Grinding in Portland, Oregon.

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The gears that propel the carbon fiber ballerina.

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Who doesn’t like a half-vampire?

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San Francisco really IS beautiful.

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More enlightened places….

Herer demonstrating his pipe at a trade show in San Francisco

The late Jack Herer in 2006 in San Francisco.

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Humboldt County, California.

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Bushy Old Grower: Great cannabis breeding.

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Nice. More from Humboldt County, California.

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Gorgeous bud from Humboldt County, California.

Being Legal

Recently,  my friend and colleague, Paul Christopher in British Columbia, suggested that it might be time for me to move “up north” to take advantage of Canada’s liberal cannabis laws and a more enlightened culture.

After months of soul searchingly pondering my direction—and seriously considering leaving the cannabis movement to return to corporate America (even vampires have bills to pay)—I made a decision.


Location, location, location. The mantra of retail sales affects other areas of our lives, the most dominant being our residence. I’ve made no secret of my intention—and need—to relocate to a state in which cannabis is legal and culturally accepted.

I recently joked in social media that it would be fun to play the role of Editor-At-Large for a magazine, traveling the United States seeking out patient stories and killer photos of everything cannabis.

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The southern point of the Emerald Triangle.

 

In the end, we are all the Editor-At-Large of our own life. We have the option of pursuing adventures and taking risks, of venturing forth in the direction we are led by positive influences.

Risk. Vulnerability. It’s all frightening as hell.

I’m scared. You’re scared. Unsanctioned authorities are always in our way, fighting compassion and the efforts to educate and re-legalize cannabis. It is a daunting struggle, our cannabis legalization gig.

Sometimes we have to sit down, introspect until the cows come home, and make some decisions.

Mine has been to relocate to the Northern California.

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Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California.

I don’t know enough about the cannabis plant. I don’t know enough about how it helps patients. And, when living here in Austin, I can’t photograph family farms or trim teams.

This summer, I’ll re-emerge in a more enlightened area of our great nation. I’m lucky. I have nothing holding me back.

Thank you to those who have led me to this place—either through positive or negative energy. And to the naysayers, pinchers, pokers, and deceptive B players along the way:

Told you I wasn’t going to give up.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Cara’s Courage: A Story of Survival

Cara Cordoni is a dynamic and fiercely independent woman who has endured a long, arduous path to gain her current perspective regarding cannabis re-legalization and patient advocacy.

This San Francisco-based medical marijuana advocate’s victories have been hard fought and won with dignity and enlightenment. She is an inspirational model of perseverance and personal reinvention. Millennials would say that Cordoni exudes positivity.

Learn how a small act of kindness on the part of a stranger resulted in Cordoni grasping optimism in her darkest hour. Optimism that, inevitably, will benefit thousands of other patients and cannabis users because of the passion and inspiration inherent in her story.

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Cordoni in Egypt (April 2007), months before declaring freedom.

Cannabis activists and advocates often speak of “community.” Community means sharing, and sharing means gaining insight and knowledge from the experiences—and differing perspectives—of others.

Message to greedy old white dudes (including members of the U.S. Congress): Defy these women of power if you want. But you are in for a helluva fight. They have things like compassion and logic on their side. You have greed and corruption. Good luck.

Don’t just read Cordoni’s story; think about it. Imagine that her words of honest introspection are those of your sister, daughter, mother, partner, close friend, or lover.

— Gooey Rabinski


Fourteen hours south of Cairo, Aswan is a small and remote community in Egypt. It is the southernmost town in the mythologized nation and where the Nile boats turn around (the jumping off point to Abu Simbel). It is the last stop on the journey to Sudan.

I had never expected to live in Egypt. Still, here I found myself. I was 33, married to a Greek, and living along a beautiful stretch of the Nile. It was gorgeous; what some would label a paradise.

Yet, I was very depressed.

Originally from San Francisco, I was a graduate of the University of Virginia and a successful middle manager in a financial firm—until a couple of years earlier. In Aswan, I spent my days shopping for and preparing food, cleaning house, and watching films beamed in from Dubai (The Sound of Music, Ghandi…anything that provided an escape).

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One of Cordoni’s sunsets in Aswan, Egypt.

I was supposed to be writing a book, a young adult novel set in Athens, Greece. But I was so unhappy, disconnected, and emotionally constipated that I could produce little compelling content.

My spark was dead; I felt no purpose.

He and I had departed San Francisco—leaving behind my family and job—to see if we could get him his Greek citizenship. We needed evidence of his grandmother’s birth in the late 1800s in a remote Greek village.

Ultimately a futile task, our 14 months in Athens eroded my sense of self and hastened my plunge into depression. Amazingly (especially from my current perspective), I was not allowed to have a cell phone or a land line. Also no internet access.

Constraints. Exclusion. Isolation. I hurt so much. Underneath, inside. I became numb to survive. I doubted I deserved better. I was trapped and frightened. However, I wouldn’t admit it and couldn’t confront my fears. I looked out of my eyes as if through distant windows, lost somewhere inside.

He had controlled many aspects of my life in San Francisco. This included my look (hair, clothing, and makeup) and how I spent my time—and with whom. Still, I had eight hours of working time and a sense of accomplishment. But this, too, evaporated while living in our tiny rooftop apartment in Athens.


My first suicidal thoughts manifested when looking over the balcony of our apartment, under the distance gaze of the Parthenon. Under the weight of that stone monument, numbly, I imagined flying over the side.

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A view of the city—or independence?

I imagined the relief I would feel at escaping, because I couldn’t visualize myself walking out the door. To walk out was to fail, to be a bad person who was selfish and disloyal (logic he regularly used to reign me in).

My mind was a labyrinth I could not escape, as if my worth and staying had collapsed together. In my heart, I feared that to leave was to displease God. I could not see my own light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Unfortunately, my life didn’t get better after this first impulse of self-harm. Greece asked us to leave. After 14 months and a total inability to obtain any meaningful birth records—and without sufficient funds to prove we would not eventually need to take a job—we were no longer welcome in the country.

But where to go?

South America was my suggestion. Egypt, however, was his demand.

I was not living in a collaborative, loving marriage. My partner obviously didn’t respect me as an equal, although he would vehemently deny it. In his mind, everything was for me, for my good…my development…my education.

Like so many men before, my husband understood how to dominate women, perpetuating the patriarchy. He was obviously wounded by this very same patriarchy, no doubt by seeing his parents fight and separate. As a child, he had even defended his mother from his father’s attack.

Sadly, he repeated the cycle.

We had visited Egypt together. I doubted my ability to flourish there, but I was habituated to disagreeing and being shot down, acquiescing as I bit my tongue.

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A plant of healing and wellness.

He and I had met in North Beach in San Francisco, nearly nine years earlier. I was turning 25 when I met him, a wild and free pot-smoking Pagan. He was twice my age, a handsome foreign artist and master storyteller.

Unfortunately, he was also an apocalyptic Christian and narcissist.

My world flipped from white to black in a matter of weeks after having met him. No more pot, no more of my friends. I was convinced, rather suddenly, that my spiritual path was Christianity and that I had been, and was, sinful. From light to dark.

Almost nine years and seven months into living in Egypt, I found myself peering out the picture windows of our flat at the shimmering Nile. I imagined the fall….


The people of Aswan were incredibly welcoming and kind, with few exceptions—more so than I had found the Greeks. We made friends in the tourist markets.

Among them was a young man, Hamada, who was known as the “King” of the souk. From his jewelry store, I had seen him handle many challengers, including the police. He was greeted with great honors by many people.

How did I get here?


On a trip to Luxor Temple, we met a Scotsman who gave me his copy of Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Yell Fire! album. That was very trippy, in and of itself. However, Michael is also from Oakland, just across the Bay.

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Cordoni at a bakery in Aswan, Egypt.

The album moved me in so many ways: To dance and to tears. And when I heard the line, “Like Peter Tosh said, ‘Legalize it!,'” I became determined to lay my hands on some hash.

“Of course,” I thought, “Hamada is smoking hash in his hookah. He has been while I was in the shop.”

I had not really thought about cannabis for years. It was simply out of range and not an option. I only half-acknowledged that Mohammed and Hamada where smoking hash—something that, culturally and because of my husband, was off-limits.

After months of daily berating, including being called “stupid” and our first physical fight (mostly hair pulling)—among other offenses—I was ready to take a risk.

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A garden of health.

I devised a plan to acquire some cannabis or hash. I timed my rendezvous for when I anticipated few people would be present. I discreetly asked and offered to pay. To my surprise and delight, my benefactor pinched off a lump of hash the size of the first digit on my pinky and refused payment.

Thanking him, my heart racing, I rushed back. I double-checked that I would be alone for a while and sat down. With great anticipation, I pinched a little ball off the end of my newfound stash and warmed it in my hands. It was dark and soft and, when smoked, created a thick white smoke.

Almost immediately, I felt a rush of warmth, well-being, and deep relaxation move through me. My shoulders dropped away from my ears and I breathed deeper. I felt momentarily good in my skin.

As I sat with my high, I gained perspective on my situation. I recognized that I was stuck believing myself the victim of my husband.

I had believed, and was acting, as if he had power…power, I recognized in my lifted state, that he didn’t have if I didn’t give it to him. I realized that I was trapped by my own thinking; my prison was my own mind.

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A cannabis leaf up close.

I didn’t need to jump out a window or off a balcony. I could simply walk out the door.

And I did.

I left Egypt nine years ago. With a great therapist and a lot of cannabis, my life has been transformed. Thanks to a lump of hash I was gifted in the Aswan marketplace in Egypt, I gained the insight to set myself free.

— Cara Cordoni


Has cannabis helped you set yourself free? Maybe a loved one? If so, tell me your story….


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a photographer, writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Vampire Bar Series: Werewolves of London

Welcome to the latest installment in the Vampire Bar series. You can check out previous articles here. 666 words for your convenience.


The song “Werewolves of London” began streaming through the British speakers from my Spotify playlist The Muse Loves Cannabis.

He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

I remember meeting Warren Zevon when an undergrad. I’d love to say I was intelligent enough to have interviewed him, but no. He was the most humble and chill famous dude I ever met. He was so mellow, I think he’s still not pissed that he’s dead.

But I digress. The Muse certainly wasn’t dead. She was very much alive.

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A beautiful young toker at a celebration in Ohio.

She freaking saw me. Great. She’s one of those. Jaded pessimism—delicately delivered via a combination of hormones, endorphins, cannabinoids, and neurotransmitters in my body—crept over me.

Goddamnit. Now what?

After all, the only reason I came out of the vampire and cannabis closets was to give a little perspective to this whole herbal prohibition topic. Prohibition: What a friggin’ joke.

I’d spew a plethora of profanity (what one new powerful female friend says is a sign of intelligence), but I made a commitment to mostly PG-rated writing. I don’t want to repel the very people we are trying to educate: Average American voters who need to approve state-level ballot initiatives to legalize cannabis.

Most vampires live a very long time. And are exceptionally healthy. And require little food. And need relatively few hours of sleep. But we still must have some sleep or, like humans, we will lose our minds and experience significantly degraded performance.

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Buds resting on a copy of SKUNK Magazine.

The lust for Scrabble and motorcycles: That’s pretty much just me. Although most vampires are pretty fast with a keyboard or touch screen under their fingers. We have good dexterity, which comes in handy….

Not all vampires drink tons of coffee, indulge in frequent dabbing, or have a thing for dangerous, beautiful woman with above-average vocabularies.

Vampire culture is one of the few areas of life that is more overwhelmed with false stigma and misinformation than the cannabis culture. Think about it.

Those who have spent any time with me in the past: I’m sorry if your skin is crawling and you’re freaking out a bit right now. Yes, that’s right, I was in your living room. I may have used your bathroom after a couple of local craft beers. Note that I didn’t bite you or suck your blood.

Well, there was that one brunette from California. And the Aussie writer chick in Portland with the amazing vernacular. But again, I digress….

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Blues/folk virtuoso guitarist Joe Rollin Porter from Cleveland.

Back to The Muse (silly distracting Spotify): She literally looked in my mental and spiritual sock drawer—and I didn’t even know someone had entered the bloody house—let alone was in the room and standing at the foot of my bed.

I’m going to have to think about this one for a while. In the meantime, I’m partnering with some of the most innovative, creative, and powerful voices in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry to bring you their stories.

Maybe that will be the end of my vampire life. When words are no longer used and everyone just sucks down all their news, entertainment, and communications on YouTube or via some crazy Snapchat plug-in.

My daughter Bean (vampires can reproduce, both with themselves and humans), who has 12,000+ Instagram followers, says most of them “use emoji as a second language.”

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Bean Rabinski embarrasses her father on Instagram.

Yes, dear readers, this vampire will have no reason to live after words are no longer an accepted or mainstream channel of communications. The Ducati will hit a tree at 140 MPH amd that will be all she wrote.

Or all I wrote, rather.

But fear not. Like I said, vampires live a very long time….


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Vampire Bar Series: The Muse

Welcome to the second installment in the Vampire Bar series. In respect to your time, articles in this series will be exactly 666 words (just as those in the Gooey’s Cannabis Queries series come in at precisely 420 words each).

Check out “The Vampire Bar,” the first piece in this series. It resulted from a pleasant Sunday afternoon on 6th Street in Austin, Texas while drinking a Shiner beer—with no anticipation of discovering a real vampire bar.

Little did I know how that single yellow Shiner bottle would change my life. And, as a vampire, that’s a very long life. You don’t wanna know.

This story reminds me of the time I toured the Spoetzl Brewery where Shiner is lovingly crafted. You could smell the vampires—and not necessarily friendly ones—in that ancient little Texas town. But that is a story for another time….


The irony of this installment is that it didn’t occur at the vampire bar. In fact, certain humans literally conspired (with herself, but who’s counting?) to prevent said vampire cannabis writer from even reaching his favorite bar.

She was successful. I never saw 6th Street on Saturday evening (as I had planned for nearly a week). Tsk tsk. Hidden agendas are always tripping me up. I must be a young soul.


I could smell her—even though she was 1,768 miles from my comfortable seat in North Austin. Her scent, mixed with a bit of this superlative Jack Herer sativa cross from the Pacific Northwest, had me thinking about the music in the air.

The songs of Pete Townshend, delivered via magical Spotify data packets and shitty service from Time-Warner Cable, wafted through my home office. Only minutes earlier, images of her had appeared on multiple touch screens in my vicinity. Then she evaporated, as if she was only a daydream that rapidly diluted into reality.

“Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”

Now it was Thomas Dolby and the 1982 classic “She Blinded Me With Science” steaming from my playlist. “Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!” sang Dolby (or whomever he hired for the bit) in that satirical faux mad scientist voice.

My delicate relationship with the very organic muse was like a geeked-out spring romance—only with more purpose and solid business undertones (vampires gotta pay the bills, after all). But the emotional and intellectual tension: One could slice it off and spread it on their toast like cannabutter. Yea, that powerful.


Truth be told, I can barely smell humans. These details will be revealed as time goes on, but don’t believe the Hollywood memes and that whole approach to vampires. It is almost—almost—total crap.

Hollywood’s treatment of vampires has been total crap.

You see, all humans aren’t the same. And that’s not to support some Nazi bullshit that claims we can discriminate based on skin color, socioeconomic background, age, or gender preference. Holy shit, what is this, 1820 and we’re Amish? Please.

However, not all humans are the same. But I believe all are worthy of a fair shake. If they waste it…well, I’m not nature. I’m not karma. I’m not the one who catches up with them and requires payment. Again, not a vampire thing. Most of us are not vigilantes or blatant justice seekers, like some twisted dark Marvel superhero.

This muse, she was different. Her image seared right through my cover story as Arctic Monkeys drove home those gritty, sensual, drum-inspired rock songs.

She knew. How could she know?


Bite into the next episode in the Vampire Bar Series….


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

CBG-A: The Mother of Cannabinoids

Let’s talk about cannabis efficacy for patients. Not just those with terminal cancer or severe epilepsy, but also any human, with any ailment, that involves an imbalance in their endocannabinoid system.

I just got off the phone with a friend in Humboldt County, California. Some gardeners in this pinnacle cannabis cultivation region are focusing on veterans with PTSD who have suffered severe trauma.

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Old-school herb grinding in Portland, Oregon.

My personal goal—as well as that of my trusted colleagues—is to educate. We want to change voter behavior. We don’t do this to get rich; there isn’t much money in it. We want simply to give patients and adult users a better understanding of the medicine they are putting in their bodies—or considering putting in their bodies.

This article is just such an attempt. It is the result of a desire to clarify misunderstanding and make the relatively complex and often confusing world of cannabis chemistry more palatable to the average reader.

Please help spread the knowledge. My colleagues and I can create the content, but we need readers like you to help spread it far and wide. Without both efforts, voters won’t learn—and laws won’t change.

So here’s a little something I whipped up to help resolve confusion….


Many cannabis consumers are familiar with the major cannabinoids THC and CBD, and even minor variants such as CBC. Some are also aware that these miraculous molecules are formed within the nearly microscopic shimmering resin glands of the cannabis plant called trichomes.

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The clone room in a commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

These miniscule medicine factories appear mostly on the flowers and sugar leaves of the plant. However, they can also sometimes be found in different forms on the fan leaves and even stalk of the plant and produce all of the cannabinoids and terpenes within the kind herb.

111 cannabinoids have been discovered in this plant since 1940, when THC was first identified (although it was later independently discovered in 1964 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the date that is typically cited).

For simplicity and clarity, this article will consider four primary, common cannabinoids within the plant: THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG — as well as their universal acidic precursor, CBG-A (more about precursors below).

One should informally consider the “g” in CBG-A to stand for “genesis.” This unique cannabinoid is the chemical source of many others, including all of those mentioned above. In fact, cannabis would offer zero euphoric value and be of very little medicinal significance if it weren’t for these particular cannabinoids.

CBG-A is a special acidic precursor that gives birth to cannabinoids that are therapeutic for a wide range of diseases and conditions, from arthritis to Crohn’s to cancer. In fact, a 2013 research study in Israel revealed that cannabis puts Crohn’s into full remission in about 50 percent of cases — yet many states in the U.S. continue to exclude this severe condition from their medical cannabis laws.

Intelligently Target a Disease

This article could easily transmogrify into a 5,000 word academic treatise. As an alternative, readers are encouraged to investigate the links embedded herein to understand the tremendous efficacy of cannabinoids like CBG (the source of which is CBG-A), including the major players CBD and THC. Armed with this and a basic knowledge of acidic precursors, the endocannabinoid system, endocannabinoid deficiency, and the entourage effect, readers can more intelligently target their disease therapy or lifestyle goals with the most optimal strains and forms of cannabis.

There are an estimated 1,000 or more strains of cannabis available throughout the United States (some sources, like Mara Gordon in California, cite as many as 6,000 strains). Selecting between the categories of sativa and indica and drilling down to a particular variant, such as Girl Scout Cookies or Durban Poison, is an exercise of no small consequence for patients and adult users.

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A backyard bush in Toronto, Ontario.

Understanding the basic chemical components of cannabis involves the reward of targeted therapy, harm reduction, and enhanced anxiety relief—even for those relegated to playing black market bingo in prohibitionist states.

For regular middle class smokers and vapers, cannabis can be a considerable expense within one’s monthly budget. A core knowledge of the plant and its interplay with special receptors in the human body can help save money—or, at least, help one spend the same money on a considerably more satisfying blend of cannabinoids and terpenes that best fit their personal metabolism, preferences, and condition.

Acidic Precursors

In the world of botany and biology, chemicals beget chemicals beget chemicals. Molecules morph under certain conditions—such as heat, light, and oxidation, to become slightly modified cousins of themselves. While their new chemical structure might be only slightly different, it is often enough to cause a dramatic shift in medicinal efficacy for patients or a different psychoactive effect for adult users.

Acidic precursors are slightly different versions of cannabinoids that, under the right conditions, change to become the familiar molecules used to medicate or gain euphoria for millions of patients. Take THC, for example. It is the most common and abundant cannabinoid (by volume) in most strains of cannabis. It is created by its acidic precursor, THC-A (sometimes denoted as THCA).

When heat is applied to THC-A, as from the flame of a lighter during smoking or the hot air stream produced by a vaporizer, this precursor drops a carbon dioxide (COO) cluster to become everyone’s favorite molecule, THC (this process is called decarboxylation, because it decouples a carbon and two oxygens).

Similarly, CBD, CBC, and CBG are also created by acidic precursors: CBD-A, CBC-A, and CBG-A, respectively. All of these acidic precursors are themselves born from CBG-A. In this aspect, CBG-A is a mother of many critical and medicinal cannabinoids. In effect, CBG-A is indirectly responsible for a wide range of positive medical therapies, including the following:

  • Anti-cancer: THC-A, CBD-A, THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG.
  • Analgesic (pain killer): CBG-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBG.
  • Anti-inflammatory: THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, THC, CBD, CBC, CBN-A, CBN
  • Anti-spasmodic: THC-A, THC, CBD
  • Appetite stimulant: THC
  • Appetite suppressant: THCV
  • Bone stimulant: THCV, CBD, CBDV, CBC, CBG,
  • Bronchodilator: THC
  • Sleeping aid (anti-insomnia): CBD, CBC, CBN

Therapeutic Conclusions

The chemistry of cannabis can become complex and confusing for laypeople. However, a small chunk of knowledge regarding the role of a few dominant cannabinoids can be helpful in delivering insight into the therapy of the plant and why it is considered by many to be such a potent medicine that is almost completely lacking in addiction or harmful side effects.

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Macro shot of a hybrid strain cannabis leaf.

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for asthma sufferers. However, upon further investigation, it is learned that it is actually THC that is delivering relief in its role as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory, the two types of relief most critical to patients directly prior to or during an asthma attack.

Several other cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBC, and CBN, also deliver anti-inflammatory efficacy, but only THC provides a specific bronchodilator benefit. In addition, the significant ability of cannabis to fight anxiety, one of the primary triggers of asthma attacks, means that it is a superb preventative. The best asthma attacks, of course, are those that never occur.

In 1973, Dr. Donald Tashkin, a professor of medicine and lung expert at UCLA, discovered that cannabis (in the case of his study, smoked) acts as a bronchodilator. Of course, vaporized cannabis is equally, or more, effective while avoiding potentially harmful carcinogens and other impurities present in smoke, but not vapor.

Because Tashkin understood that it was the THC molecule that was delivering efficacy to patients, he attempted to develop a special inhaler. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful due to the relatively large size of the THC molecule. Tashkin also cited too much coughing on the part of patients.

It should be understood that several studies have indicated that CBD offers excellent anti-inflammatory properties for sufferers of conditions like asthma, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even bursitis. One 2012 study conducted in Europe indicated that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation in acute lung injuries, while research from 2015 found that CBD not only reduces inflammation in asthma sufferers, but that it also results in a decrease of mucus hyper-secretion, a major symptom of this bronchial condition.

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Pre-prohibition. Cannabis tinctures populated every shelf….

Perhaps it is fortunate that most commercial and black market strains of cannabis feature more THC than any other cannabinoid. Note that it is the only appetite stimulant listed among this set of cannabinoids, including their acidic precursors. When combined with its role as a bronchodilator — and considering that it is also an anti-spasmodic, fights cancer, is a powerful pain killer, and acts as an anti-inflammatory — it is no wonder so many cultures across the globe have celebrated cannabis for tens of thousands of years.

More About THC

It just so happens that THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has a strong binding affinity with the CB1 receptor within the body’s endocannabinoid system, mimicking similar chemicals produced within the body called endocannabinoids (such as anandamide). Thus, in a literal lock-and-key metaphor, THC molecules precisely fit into the CB1 receptors found primarily within the brain and central nervous system. The result: Medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity, sometimes in the form of euphoria.

THC is the only major cannabinoid to provide a psychoactive effect and epitomizes the often stereotyped and stigmatized characterization of cannabis that portrays the herb as delivering nothing more than couchlock, intense appetite, and a lack of motivation. Strains high in THC, especially sativas, have been found to be especially effective in battling depression, PTSD, and anxiety while allowing patients to remain productive.

Understanding CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most recognized cannabinoid found within the plant. It provides considerable medicinal relief, but delivers no psychoactive effect. It has its highest binding affinity with the body’s CB2 receptors found throughout the immune system and related organs. CBD is most effective in fighting cancer, pain, inflammation, and seizure activity. It is also one of only two bone stimulators in this group of cannabinoids and, along with CBC and CBN, is an excellent sleep aid for those with insomnia.

CBD oil is a popular therapy for childhood and adult epilepsy sufferers, many of whom find little or no relief in traditional pharmaceutical drugs. More than a dozen states have passed CBD-only laws allowing a very limited set of conditions — sometimes only epilepsy — to qualify for use of this non-euphoric oil. Some anecdotal cases have revealed that CBD-only oils may decrease seizures within some epileptic children from a hundred or more per day to only a couple per month. For both sufferers and their parents, the efficacy of this special cannabinoid is no small matter.

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Macro shot of trichomes in Humboldt County, California.

However, it should also be noted that new research is indicating that only about 30 percent of childhood epilepsy patients experience a significant reduction in seizure activity on a CBD-only therapy. The vast majority of patients — about 70 percent — gain the greatest efficacy from a THC/CBD blend. Some children have even experienced an increase in seizures following a daily regime of CBD-only oil.

Said Jason David, the father of a seven-year-old boy with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy:

“The worst seizures Jayden ever had on medical cannabis was while we were using [CBD-only oil].”

Brian Wilson, a former East Coast resident who moved to Colorado in 2014 to take advantage of its medical cannabis legislation, is another parent of a child suffering from Dravet syndrome epilepsy. During an interview with Ladybud in 2014, he said:

“CBD is a very important part of the mix, but only part. We saw minor seizure control and developmental progress with CBD alone, but we didn’t see real seizure control until we added measurable levels of THC to the mix.”

Understanding CBC

CBC, or cannabichromene, is a THC booster and pain killer. Along with THC, CBD, and CBG — as well as their acidic precursors — CBC has been found to fight cancer. It should also be noted that many major terpenes also feature anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, including limonene, pinene, and myrcene. In fact, myrcene, like CBC, is a THC enhancer because it helps a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes pass through cell membranes. In this manner, it allows more THC to reach brain cells.

Consider two fictitious strains of cannabis, Bubba’s Boutique and Purple Revenge. Both have a THC potency of about 15 percent. But assume that Bubba’s Boutique has a small percentage of CBC and more myrcene than normal, while the Purple Revenge doesn’t. Bubba’s would deliver a more potent THC effect in the form of medicinal efficacy and psychoactivity due to the CBC and myrcene that went along for the ride, acting like traffic cops in paving the way for THC molecules to reach their CB1 receptor destinations in the brain and be most effective.

Two for the road, Northern Cali style

California’s Eddy Lepp rolls ’em big in 2006.

CBC’s analgesic ability is believed to be the result of an interplay with THC. It is theorized that CBC’s anti-pain powers are derived from its role in increasing THC’s pain relieving properties — not necessarily CBC’s ability to do so independently. This is an excellent example of the entourage effect and how cannabinoids, terpenes, and the body’s own endocannabinoids work together synergistically to produce psychological and physical relief.

Understanding CBG

CBG, or cannabigerol, is the “princess of pot” in terms of being the child of the queen of cannabinoids, CBG-A. It delivers a significant amount of medicinal benefit. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid has been found to be a pain killer, an anti-cancer agent, and — along with CBD and CBC, an anti-depressant.

It is, in addition to THCV, CBDV, and CBC, among the small subset of bone stimulants in this group. It is present in large quantities in many types of hemp, the variety of cannabis almost completely lacking THC. (Legally, in North America, a strain of cannabis can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be defined as hemp.)

Another potential advantage of CBG is that it seems to counter the paranoia that is delivered by some high-THC strains of cannabis. In this respect, it conveys the opposite effect of myrcene and CBC. Strains high in CBG have been found to be effective in treating glaucoma due to how this cannabinoid helps decrease pressure within the eye and expedites the drainage of fluids.

The value of CBG is being recognized by the cannabis breeding and cultivation communities, which are responding with new strains that are high in CBG, which is typically present in only small quantities within most varieties of cannabis. One example is TGA Genetics Subcool Seeds, which has created a strain called Mickey Kush that is rich in both THC and CBG.

Why Is So Little Understood?

These chemical processes become even more complex when one considers that THC sometimes degrades into CBN, which in many respects is simply stale THC. Likewise, CBC-A can result in CBLA, a cannabinoid about which very little is know other than that it is an anti-inflammatory.

Given the stunning medical value that has been uncovered to date by only limited research studies and anecdotal reports from patients and caregivers, the fact that research is being discouraged in the United States is a travesty to tens of millions of patients suffering with dozens of diseases related to or resulting in pain, nausea, inflammation, or depression.

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A small backyard grow in the U.S. (ok, it was my house).

In the big picture, humans are relatively ignorant of the cannabinoids and terpenes in this herb, including their delicate interplay. Until cannabis is removed from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, little research and no human trials will occur in the United States. This is despite the fact that international studies and volumes of patient testimonials indicate that cannabis is a powerful, holistic, and versatile medicine—for both physical and psychological diseases—that carris few or no negative side effects.

Under Schedule I, however, cannabis is considered to have zero medical value and to be dangerous and highly addictive, where it resides with drugs like bath salts and heroin. In fact, both methamphetamines and cocaine reside in less-restrictive Schedule II, meaning they can be prescribed by a physician and are supposedly less addictive than cannabis. Until Congress and more corporate and policy leaders act to change this situation (a logical solution would be moving cannabis to Schedule III), patients will continue to suffer under ambiguity and a lack of scientific facts.


Now that we’ve resolved that, go forth and sow the seeds of knowledge and enlightenment. Together, we can change the world.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

FREE BOOK: Understanding Medical Marijuana

I wrote Understanding Medical Marijuana to reach average, middle class Americans in an attempt to convince them that cannabis is real medicine for very sick patients.

The purpose was never to make Porsche money. Thus, let’s reach as many minds and hearts as possible and spread cannabis knowledge far and wide.

You can download Understanding Medical Marijuana – Gooey Rabinski here.

understanding medical marijuana for twitter

Understanding Medical Marijuana: Help voters understand.

But there is a price: Please spread the knowledge. Enlighten others. Don’t bitch about pot legalization and do nothing. All it takes is a bit of understanding for voters to change their habits and push national legalization in the United States over the edge.

Victory is in sight. But we must push harder than ever now….

—  Gooey


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

The Vampire Bar

I had time for only a quick Shiner Bock and then the slow, colorful walk up 6th Street to the truck. I didn’t want to leave.

The low light, cheap but delicious burgers (vampires know good meat), and exotically charismatic staff had me glued to my bar stool.

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The unofficial beer of Texas: Shiner Bock.

A cheerful, energetic patron who was in his early 40s—but gave the impression of a guy in his 30s—plopped down beside me and we began to talk.

At some point in the conversation, as I always do, I had to broach the topic of work. Everyone—including the funny, waify woman at the UPS Store in my neighborhood—has reacted positively to the topic of herb in Austin.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I baitingly quipped.

“I can’t believe I make my living writing about weed,” I baitingly quipped.

As the conversation continued, the tall vampire redhead behind the bar with the alluring tatts politely interrupted.

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation and the fact that you write about pot for a living. I’d like to talk to you more about that….”

“Please don’t tell my family. They don’t understand weed or vampires,” I retorted lovingly as I slipped the concentrate vape pen from my pocket. A few clicks of the button and the battery was fired up as I handed it to one of the few real vampires I’ve met in a long time (we can tell).

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My favorite vampire bar in Austin. Ok, the *only* such bar….

As she walked to the back room to avoid violating the smoking and vaping laws she’s obligated to enforce upon her customers, the dude beside me and I continued our dialog.

“Pot?” asked my temporary hops compatriot.

“Yea. Some dirty Austin BHO supposedly from California. It’s called ‘honey oil’ in places like Canada and Oregon. But you can’t trust any of these black market labels. It’s mostly bullshit.” I said.

I added: “This stuff is potent, however. And better than most. The concentrate wizards of Portland laugh at it. But it’s the best I’ve found on the Austin market, considering that I haven’t been co-mingling with humans much….”

My impromptu drinking buddy queried, “Do you have a business card?” After toting those slick green laminated bastards with me for weeks in Oregon, I suddenly found myself without them. Had frolicking among the humans caused me to forget work for a while?

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Too bad my fave vampire bar doesn’t sell cannabis.

“Um, this is kind of a no-work day. Although I can’t stop taking photos—but that’s par for the course. Sorry, Presbyterian joke.”

I leaned over and asked, “You have a smartphone, right?”

“Sure,” he replied as he whipped out his iPhone.

“Type ‘Gooey Rabinski’ into the search engine of your choice.” Voila, instant business card. I love the 21st century.

About then my tall vampire friend returned and stealthily slid the vape pen across the bar and gently into my hand—complimented with a mischievous smile that I’ll forever cherish.

Returning the smile, I finished my Shiner and bid my new friends goodbye. But not before promising to return to the bar to discuss the kind herb with the tall redhead vampire sporting the dangerous smile….


Bite into more articles in the Vampire Bar Series:


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

 

It’s 2016: Stop Your Whining

I sometimes write about consumer tech under a pen name. Often, simplicity is the best solution, so I’ll be porting all of my non-cannabis tech articles and books over to my Gooey moniker.

You do like home theater, personal data security, cord cutting, and Netflix, right?


Remember the old days, when you would struggle with Windows 95 or Windows 2000 to get it to properly load, say, a printer driver? Remember the love/hate relationship you had with Redmond’s Richest (Microsoft)?

This schizophrenic emotional state was elicited by the relative convenience afforded by use of the Windows graphical user interface—paired with the frustration of abundant software bugs and things like plug-n-play that certainly plugged, but often didn’t play.

Use of Microsoft’s products and services, specifically its operating system and the applications found in MS Office, were a double-edged sword. On one side was convenience, speed, and user-friendly operation. On the other was buggy software, cumbersome tech support, and almost daily frustration—typically resulting in language befitting a drunken sailor (at least from me).

Welcome to 2016. We’re now officially 16 percent of the way into the 21st century. No longer do we marvel over smartphones and digital cameras. No longer do we say “Wow, that 42-inch flat panel sure is amazing.” No longer do we dream of a future of electric cars, smartwatches, thin touchscreen tablets, and free global video conferencing.

We’re home, Toto. All that cool stuff is here. And much of it is either free or very cheap.

Who Could Have Imagined?

After all, who could have imagined free video conferencing (using services like FaceTime and Skype)? When I was a kid, I recall my CPA-wannabe Granma Rabinski always cutting short long-distance phone calls because of the expense and metered billing rate. We now conduct high-definition video conferences—of any length and with folks around the world—at no cost and on a regular basis.

But our technical schizophrenia remains. Spurred by relentless online ads and spotty wi-fi, our frustration seemingly won’t abate. We love the Google search engine and the magic of Twitter. But is my smartphone too hot? Why doesn’t my internet router work? It did yesterday. And why can’t I remember the password for my secret email account?

When thinking recently about our fickle use of technology, I realized something: Google has replaced Microsoft as our evil bipolar technological stepmother.

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The Silicon Valley giant, whose name has become synonymous with looking up stuff on the internet, is something that we think we can’t live without—but that we also curse on a regular basis. I’d hate for someone to steal or damage my Chromecast media streaming dongles. Yet, I want to throw them across the room when they drop the Pandora stream for the fifth time in two hours.

Jack of All Trades

Alyce Lomax at The Motley Fool, way back in 2006, described Google as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.” One blogger wrote Apple vs. Google: Where Focus Meets Buckshot in September 2014, pointing out how Google loves to experiment with a variety of products and services.

From “smart” contact lenses to self-driving cars to huge balloons intended to bring internet access to undeveloped nations (and, with it, ads from the company’s search engine and other services), Google has its hand in a very wide range of products.It’s almost as if the iconic company doesn’t trust its ability to succeed in any one area. Maybe it’s so keenly aware of the fierce competition and incredible challenges of the technology that the titan gets involved in dozens of product areas, with the hope that a few will actually pan out.

But everything is relative. Our love/hate relationship with Microsoft from yesteryear was based on the pervasive nature of the company’s operating system and software. Windows was everywhere. Very few people used Macs back then (hell, there wasn’t even a version of Microsoft Office for the Mac, so you can barely blame them). It was all MS Word and Excel and Windows XP. All of which sported some pretty serious bugs. We felt trapped.

Today is Different

Today it’s a bit different. I was recently frustrated when using Google’s URL shortening service for links within tweets. I found that, somehow, I had violated Google’s terms of service and it invalidated one of my URLs, giving my tweet, going out to hundreds of thousands of users, a dead link.

Fine, I thought, and switched back to Bitly. Frustrated by the amount of paid links at the top of the results page for Google’s search engine, I switched to Duck Duck Go. Not happy with my sluggish, stuttering Nexus 7 tablet running Google’s Android mobile OS, I switched back to an iPad from Apple.

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The difference today is that there’s options. Back in the day, those frustrated by Microsoft Word or PowerPoint had few alternatives, none of which were ubiquitous enough to make the switch feel practical or intelligent. But if you’re fed up with your Nexus tablet or your Android-powered smartphone gets wonky, there’s ready alternatives from companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry.

Unlike Microsoft’s stranglehold on us back in the 1990s, Google can no longer hold us captive.

So welcome to 2016 and the age of tech options. Don’t like the ad-laced Google search engine? Switch to Bing or Duck Duck Go. Don’t like the Goo.gl URL shortener? Use Bitly or TinyURL. Getting frustrated by your Android smartphone or tablet? Give Apple or Nokia a try. Don’t like Google Maps? Try AOL’s MapQuest or Apple Maps. Don’t like Gmail? Try Outlook or Yahoo (or the messaging built into Facebook or LinkedIn). Not digging Google+? Try Facebook (ok, every human already did that…sorry).

But stop your whining and don’t feel trapped. Because there’s plenty of alternatives to the app-based and online products and services you’re currently using.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Finally, a Diversity Summit

Thanks to loyal readers for tolerating my walkabout time in Portland, Oregon over the past few weeks. I’m back in Austin and enduring cannabis prohibition with the Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys playing in the background….

What is on my mind, however, isn’t rock music. Or even cannabis prohibition. It’s inclusion. My time in ultra-progressive Portland impressed me with the inclusiveness of its culture. Which is great for Portland and the state of Oregon….

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The clone room of a 40,000 sq. foot commercial garden in Eugene, Oregon.

What about the rest of the country? The fledgling cannabis industry is struggling to promote the voices of many minority players, plain and simple. This is only exacerbated by the introduction of big money to the game. Old, established powers are simply rebranding themselves—often under a nefarious cloak—and entering the green rush in an effort to boost their existing profit margins.

Unfortunately, the values of the establishment often clash with those of various segments of the patient and adult user cultures—as well as the various leaders, businesses, and organizations that populate this highly fragmented movement.

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry, commonly known as the “green rush,” has left many segments of the movement-cum-mainstream-business adrift in uncertainty.

Will the future of legal cannabis be diverse and inclusive across socioeconomic, gender, gender preference, and racial lines?

What will be the influence of—and opportunity for—minorities as legal cannabis products and services begin to produce trillions of dollars in revenues and billions in taxes?

Many fear that those who have been marginalized in mainstream society will also suffer within the newly emerging cannabis industry. To ensure a healthy economic ecosystem, the green rush must produce companies and leaders who are capable of breaking from the old rules to embrace a more collaborative framework that truly serves the needs of patients and adults users in the 21st century.

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Cannabis Diversity Summit organizer Charlo Greene (photo credit Go GREENE).

Inclusion, diversity, and a passion for patients will be an inherent part of our culture and industry if Anchorage-based cannabis legalization activist and entrepreneurial dynamo Charlo Greene has anything to say about it.

Cannabis Diversity Summit

Her advocacy group, Go GREENE, has organized the first Cannabis Diversity Summit, a unique event intending to—as its name implies—offer education, inspiration, insight, and networking for minority participants wishing to succeed in the cannabis industry.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty,” Greene told me during an exclusive interview. Unlike much of the old money entering the cannabis industry, Greene’s passion isn’t rooted in profits.

“Cultivating diversity and inclusion is our proud duty.”  — Charlo Greene

To maximize benefit to participants, the Cannabis Diversity Summit is a free event and will also be livestreamed online at charlogreene.com. It will be held Sunday, May 15 at the smoke-friendly Nativ Hotel in scenic Denver. The Summit will be an opportunity for all participants to network and exchange ideas. Mentoring relationships will be encouraged to help new members of the cannabis industry gain knowledge from seasoned experts.

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Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

The Cannabis Diversity Summit will include a Saturday, May 14 VIP networking mixer and dinner—featuring a special speaker—on the evening prior to the event .

_______________________________________

Charlo Greene Q&A

Gooey Rabinski: “What motivated you to organize the Cannabis Diversity Summit, something that has not yet been done in this industry?”

Charlo Greene: “It’s clear that ensuring an inclusive industry for black and brown people is the last priority of cannabis event organizers. Do you know anyone living in a community devastated by prohibition that can afford a $1,000 event pass to gain access to the opportunities the cannabis industry offers?

I don’t.

So I’m taking it upon myself to bring the information and opportunities to the people that really need it—at a price I know they can afford: Free.

Why? Because if not me, who? I cannot, in good conscience, sit idly by and watch the opportunity to re-empower the communities that have been abused by our broken justice system pass. We only have now.”

GR: “Charlo, what do you hope the effect of your Cannabis Diversity Summit is a month into the future? What about six months or a year from now?”

CG: “A month into the future, I expect to see more black and brown faces publicly advocating for cannabis reform and starting cannabis businesses than ever before.

Six months from now, I expect to see black and brown community leaders rallying against voter initiatives that claim sick kids matter, but black lives and the lives of everyone else needlessly locked up over cannabis don’t. And I expect current members of the cannabis industry to no longer sit in silence when watching their colleagues advocate for higher barriers of entry into the industry.

A year from now, I expect the advocates with Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, and the Drug Policy Alliance that are helping write voter initiatives and policies to realize that people of color are now watching. They can no longer make concessions that will allow police to continue using cannabis to criminalize members of our communities.”

GR: “Is this the beginning of more efforts to cultivate diversity in our new industry?”

CG: “Absolutely. The Cannabis Diversity Summit happening in Denver is the first of many long-overdue community discussions that we know will inspire immense change. How? By providing education and opportunity to the people the really need it. All free-of-charge.”

GR: “See you in Denver on the 14th….”

CG: “I’m looking forward to it!”


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The cannabis-friendly Nativ hotel in Denver, site of the Cannabis Diversity Summit.

All participants in the cannabis industry can do more to embrace and create an inclusive, representative culture that fosters collaboration and strong creative forces and fairness within the industry. In fact, without this cooperative spirit, the industry will miss an opportunity to do things right.

Let’s begin with a common base of knowledge and a perspective worthy of this amazing plant and its ability to help humanity. The Cannabis Diversity Summit is a great start. Let’s hope we see more of this type of organized activism in the future. 


Cannabis Diversity Summit Agenda

  • Cannabis industry pioneers sharing how to get into the new legal industry.
  • Game-changing activists offering invaluable insight on winning the fight for reform.
  • As a show of unity, representatives from all active cannabis advocacy and industry organizations with a focus on diversity will have the opportunity to present.

Perspectives from thought leaders of color on the following topics:

  • Legislation
  • Regulation
  • Law enforcement
  • Advocacy
  • Marijuana as medicine
  • Mass incarceration
  • And more….

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Cannabis for Spirituality

I recently explored the topic of coming out of the cannabis closet, comparing this life event with the traditional LGBTQ+ definition of the term.

In the past, I’ve explored the topic of holistic wellness, use of cannabis with intent, and the conceptual framework of mind, body, and spirit. Today, let’s focus on spirit.

This is undoubtedly the most diverse and ambiguous of the three major areas in which cannabis can help humans. For some, spirituality is a devoutly religious area of their lives. For others—many of whom are agnostic or atheist—spirituality is different. It may encompass anger management, improvement of interpersonal skills, athletic prowess, sexual performance, or even the quest for purpose in life.

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Grinding cannabis flowers old-school at the NW Cannabis Club in Portland.

One’s spirituality is also strongly influenced by their particular place in life. Have they recently received a big promotion? Maybe they’ve suffered the untimely death of a loved one. The discovery of new romance is always a spiritual energizer. Divorce can be both defeating and liberating at the same time. Other positive milestones include a diverse set of life events experienced by close friends and loved ones (think graduation, one’s first home, a new motorcycle, or a highly anticipated pregnancy or birth).

For me, spirituality is seeking truth. This obviously occurs on two levels: The objective, physical reality around us (tech, social media, and communications advancements are all based on this increasing scientific knowledge) and our subjective, personal perspective.

It is this personal perspective for which I gain such tremendous benefits from cannabis. Like many of you, I’m not very happy with the state of things in the world at the moment. Yet, the reality is that things are better than ever.

Wealth distribution still sucks and minorities—including Hispanics, African-Americans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community—are still marginalized and persecuted on a daily basis. But things are still better than at any point in history (aren’t you glad you weren’t born 300 years ago?).

And then there’s cannabis prohibition. If you’re like me and you’ve decided to medicate daily and with intent to improve wellness (and possibly to no longer piss in a cup for a Ludditist corporation), life in the majority of the United States can be challenging and frustrating. Obtaining safe, quality cannabis medicine that’s most appropriate for one’s condition(s) and lifestyle is between impossible and very difficult (not to mention exceedingly expensive and never covered by health care).

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The clone room in a 40,000 sq foot commercial facility (Eugene, Oregon).

Thus, I use cannabis to tone my frustration, so to speak. To help put things in perspective and give me that elusive state of mind we call patience.  The ability to employ a careful, slow strategy in one’s career, activism, or personal relationships is often paramount to success. Does cannabis help with this?

If one has clean, quality medicine: Yes.

At least it does for me. Recently, my use of cannabis with intent for thoughtful introspection and strategizing my career and personal life has resulted in a desire to explore the specific subcultures touched by cannabis.

I’ll need cannabis more than ever to put things in perspective and help prevent me from drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid along the way. I’ll need it to gain the confidence to proverbially walk into entrenched, cloistered subcultures to gain their trust and learn their stories. Specifically, stories of how cannabis helps them with mind, body, and spirit and is woven into the fabric of their personal, financial, and social lives.

The next time you’re feeling down or are on the verge of losing hope, think of the long game. Imagine national legalization of pot. Visualize every city in the United States sporting dozens or even hundreds of legal dispensaries (just like beautiful Portland, Oregon), most of which offer safe access to laboratory-tested, premium-quality cannabis medicine.

A lofty goal, no doubt.

Seeing beyond the ignorance, bigotry, and stereotypical thinking of prohibitionists and conservatives is no easy task. Bearing the brunt of daily criticism or even rejection from neighbors, friends, or co-workers because of a simple cannabis lifestyle is just part of the reality of being a modern user of the herb.

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A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).

While many of us, especially journalists, focus on the states and cities that have progressively legalized cannabis, like Portland, Seattle, and Denver, we must also remember that most of the nation doesn’t enjoy such luxury and safety. We must redirect our anger, align our thoughts, and push forward into the 21st century with optimism and a knowledge that cannabis will be legalized nationally within most of our lifetimes.

Because we didn’t come this far just to let the bad guys win, did we?

#crappleasesayno


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

The Floral Splendor of Portland

Welcome to the latest installment in the Project Portland series. To get caught up, check out:


I recently returned to Austin from nearly two weeks in Portland. My impressions of this pot paradise, now that I have returned to the Lone Star State?

Portland offers extremely friendly people and plentiful floral splendor. And yes, I’m describing both the cannabis and the roses in the front lawns.

What if you’re a serious patient? Could knowing you’re getting a sativa or indica in a place like Portland help? Would you like the ability to walk into a dispensary and request a particular strain, like the ever-popular Cinex or Cherry Slyder (my personal favorites) or any of the hundreds of other hybrid crosses of top-shelf, well-grown genetics?

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A 20-something toker at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

Patients who use cannabis for ailments ranging from cancer to Crohn’s to arthritis to dystonia would do well to at least consider relocating to Portland, Denver, Seattle, or various parts of California (or even Alaska).

Portland, in particular, may strike you as special. But you need to visit first. Check out the scene. Visit the NW Cannabis Club. Hit a half dozen dispensaries in a single afternoon in a particular part of town (like where you might be considering moving, natch), and challenge the budtenders to provide you with a high-quality strain for your particular ailments or lifestyle.

With 334 dispensaries in Oregon—most of which are in Portland—there’s no shortage of options for both patients and adult (“recreational”) users of cannabis. Into flower? Concentrates? Edibles (referred to as “medibles” in Portland)? Maybe tinctures or topicals? Infused drinks? Candy and chocolate?

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The Yeti from the NW Cannabis Club in Portland. The mask was surreal.

It’s all here.

I even tracked down old-school full-melt bubble hash from Chickweed Farms (one of the finest, purest samples I have encountered). It is probably the best aroma and taste associated with pot consumption in my small world. It harkens back to my walkabouts in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, Canada and Northern California, like Humboldt and Lake counties.

But be warned: The people of Portland are both intense, independent, extremely artsy, engaging, and vigorously protective of personal liberties. They are innovators and trouble makers who don’t accept the status quo. If you don’t embrace medical cannabis, the LGBTQ+ community, or simply don’t operate with an open-minded perspective, Portland, Oregon probably isn’t the place for you.

I’ll spare you the puns and jokes regarding flannel, coffee shops, Subarus, and luggage racks adorned in hipster stickers.

For people like me (I make my living writing about and taking photos of patients and cannabis), Portland offers a rare slice of a libertarian fantasyland. The city and many of its leaders give a damn. Not so much in other areas of North America that I have visited or in which I have lived during my small slice of reality we call life.

The people of Portland are what make it, despite the grand elegance of the landscape. Many of them are passionately concerned about their fellow humans (spend just a few hours in an authentic Portland coffee shop and you’ll quickly pick up on this vibe). This value set is so impressive–and so rare–that I get verclempt nearly every time I think about it.

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A professional garden in Eugene, Oregon (Wild West Growers)

To answer that one consistent question: Will I, personally, be moving to Portland?

I’ve decided to spend part of my year in this great city, working with clients, dispensaries, and media outlets to help educate patients and consumers about the real science of this plant. I literally can’t stay away, and have fallen in love with the friendly, mellow atmosphere, gorgeous front lawns, and ample cannabis culture.

During the cold months, you’ll find me in Humboldt County, where I can experiment with cannabis performance enhancement and cycling in a challenging mountain atmosphere. And obtain pure, outdoor organic medicine. 

Pure outdoor organic. Ask for it by name….

The blessing of modern communications and mobile devices will allow me to work from anywhere, including on-the-road when I am between cities or visiting other cannabis hotspots (like Oakland and Eugene, Oregon). 

If you are a patient or adult user who loves cannabis and considers it an important part of your life, test your key in the door of Portland. Your mileage will vary, but I, personally, am glad I didn’t give up the search.


P.S.: Many media projects have been inspired by my first Portland trip. One series I’m considering is the craft cannabis industry. We tend to think of innovation being limited to the tech sector.

However, my Portland adventure has proven to me that innovation is alive and well within our burgeoning cannabis industry. And Portland is one of the few hotbeds of this progressive, organic approach to developing and making available to patients the highest quality cannabis medicine possible. 


Subscribe to ensure that you catch interviews, photo shoots (the new Nikon rocks), podcasts, audio interviews, and videos that capture the experience, intelligence, and passion of the leaders of our battered—but never-say-die—culture.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Project Portland: First Impressions

Welcome to the second in the series Project Portland, an exploration of what it’s like for regular cannabis consumers (including patients) to relocate to a state in which adult use of cannabis is legal.


I arrived in Portland shortly after midnight on April 19. I hadn’t considered the fact that this would be Oregon’s first 4/20 in which adult use cannabis was legal. While it might seem overly dramatic, I have to admit that it was an honor to spend 4:20 pm on 4/20 at the top of Mount Tabor in Portland. Both the young punks and the old school Deadheads were authentic in their mellow, passionate embrace and love of the kind herb.

And to all those who helped me with directions as I was looking for the entrance to this volcano mountain park (while running behind schedule and wondering if I would make it before 4:20 pm): Thank you.

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Yes, I will replace this with one of my own.

I recall a particular dreddied dude and his girlfriend with whom I briefly chatted as I was cranking up the mountain on my carbon fiber ballerina. Amongst the thousands of cannabis consumers on the mountain, turns out he and his cute partner were friends with the cultivator smoking the monster joint in the photo below.

Small world, eh? He looked at me and said, “You worked hard to get up the hill. This is your karma…” as I dragged on the large cone handed to me for the third time. Dig the sharing culture.  #warmandfuzzy

I have been staying in the SE section of the city. I quickly learned that this town is basically split into quadrants, each with its own culture, affluence, and art and food scenes.

I do have to admit, the presence of good dispensaries and a very robust cycling culture—in addition to my new favorite coffee shop on Division, Dapper & Wise—has attracted me to the southeast area.

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A 25-year-old legal cultivator at the 2016 4/20 celebration on Mt. Tabor in Portland.

After a few days in this city, I can say that I had had to adjust my understanding of “good” cannabis. Yea, I’ve had good stuff before in places like Humboldt County, Vancouver (Canada), and Toronto. But not via legal dispensaries. For the first time in my life, I was able to walk into a shop and ask “Do you have Durban Poison?”

And when the friendly budtender replied “Yes,” I got shivers down my spine. Holy shit, Batman, this is the way this stuff is supposed to work. This is a culture feeding itself. This is amazingly enticing. For potheads, that is.

I endured blinding snow storms in New Mexico, failed brakes (thanks, Enterprise), and 2,100 miles of driving—instead of the comforts of a flight—to fully understand what it’s like to be a cyclist in Portland. While I have been blown away by legal cannabis, I have been even more impressed (and borderline shocked) by the sheer number of hardcore commuting cyclists in this city.

People here do everything on bikes. Don’t think “let’s go for a bike ride after dinner.” Think: “I go to the coffee shop, the dispensary, work, and the club on my bike.” Yea. And in numbers like you have never imagined. And yes, there are too many Toyota Priuses.

I was basically verklempt for nearly an hour as my attractive co-cycling host led me through streets like Clinton and Division on our way to the famous bridges on the river. It was in the 80s and sunny. I had not yet developed an appreciation for the fact that, at this time of year, these were some very special days involving relatively immaculate weather.

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Wild West Growers in Eugene, Oregon. Look for the feature article in June.

Today it is 59 degrees with scattered showers. But it’s fine. The wealth of artsy sculptures and a mellow environment at my purple “magic” house Airbnb is refreshing. The back yard is mesmerizing (I’ll share pics and video later and begin doing the Periscope thing).

If you love cannabis or are a patient and feel your batteries running low, plan a road trip to Portland or Seattle. Wipe your chalkboard clean. Blow out the carbon.

Regardless of what you call it, simply do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow.

Because sometimes tomorrow is too late. Me? I probably got lucky. But don’t underestimate the power of a blinding snowstorm and second life.

More to come….

P.S.: To Ally, the smart Aussie chick with the masters in English Literature: You’re a better writer than you think. Never give up; never surrender.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

A Short History of My Life

The following was originally intended to be published as a short, historical ebook. Due to the unforeseen emergence of cannabis legalization in the United States, many of my non-cannabis writing and publishing projects have been put on hold.


In late 1943, in the middle of World War II and near the end of the Great Depression, my great-great grandmother, Rosella Rabinski, was asked by one of her daughters to document her life. The following is her manuscript.

In a modern world dominated by Twitter, YouTube, and ubiquitous smartphones—where instantaneous communication and fast, reliable travel are taken for granted—Rosella’s life history illustrates just how far the western world has evolved in the past one hundred and fifty years.

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Not Rosella; my daughter Bean (Rosella’s great-great-great granddaughter).

Rosella had, by today’s standards, a poor education. What little she gathered, she basically foisted upon herself. She lost her mother at the age of nine and her father at 13. After she became an orphan, Rosella gained additional education only because she demanded it, with little encouragement from those around her. She joined the workforce as a nanny when she was about 16.

Born at the beginning of the American Civil War, Rosella (who went by “Ella”) was an only child and orphan at a time when most families had a dozen or more children. She had a unique spirit.

How many women were progressive enough to hyphenate their name in the early 20th century?

I never met her (I was born a couple of decades after her manuscript was written, which was shortly before she died), but am thankful that her daughter urged her to compose this short life history. Due to the miracle of modern digital publishing and social media, Ella’s story is now available to the world—not simply the seven children she raised.

My apologies for the run-on paragraphs and sometimes awkward construction found within this document. I have attempted to preserve the original text whenever possible. Also brace yourself for social stereotypes, stigma-inspired references, and the mild bigotry and class separation that was prevalent at the time.


Chapter 1: How I Began

My daughter, Cecile May, has asked me to write a short history of my life.

This is December 1943. I will begin by saying that I, Rosella Rabinski, was born in Liberty Township in Knox County, Ohio. It was just over the line of Clinton Township, three miles west of Mount Vernon, on January 5, 1861.

I was born in a double-hewed log cabin, with two rooms downstairs and a double fireplace. The room on the west had two windows and was plastered. The kitchen on the east had one window, two outside doors, a stairway, and a door leading to the front room. We lived there for some time. It was zero weather when I was born, I heard them say. Today the temperature is 36 degrees above.

My father and mother both came from large families. Mother was one of eleven children and Father had two full brothers, six half-brothers and sisters on his mother’s side, and five or six half-brothers and sisters on his father’s side.

I was an only child.

In those days there were, of course, no automobiles and very few buggies. We had no paved roads. Some people had so-called spring wagons. Often, the roads were almost impassable. I can remember when the mud was so deep that it came nearly up to the hubs of wagon wheels and up to horses’ knees. Now, in 1943, one seldom sees horses and wagons on the roads—and most roads are paved. Back then we had sleds and sleighs and the young people would put a string of bells on their horses when they went sleigh riding. Those bells could be heard for a mile.

Hearses for children were drawn by white horses. However, those were happier times than today. Later there was built what we called a surrey, with two seats and a covered top.

About forty years ago, they began to build automobiles. The first one I saw was used by our mail carrier. It was built like a high-wheeled buggy—but had a motor, of course.

It has been handed down to me that there was a German, Lewis Bricker (the name in some localities was Praker, I have been told), who married Elizabeth Calvert, the daughter of Cecil Calvert (an Englishman who was much opposed to his daughter marrying a German). But they seemed to get along well. Elizabeth was said to have driven a team of horses to Philadelphia with loads of grain and provisions. The couple reared a large family and accumulated a fortune. Two of their sons, John and Jacob, married two Koonsman girls. Jacob married Elizabeth Koonsman and, in 1808, John married Barbara Koonsman (my grandmother).

Lewis Bricker migrated from Pennsylvania to Liberty Township in Knox County, Ohio and bought several 100-acre tracts of land from the government (beginning in what is known as the Liberty Township east line, three miles west of Mount Vernon). John Bricker and Barbara had one daughter, Rebecca, who was born in 1809. This was before they moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio in covered wagons in 1810.

The new land of Ohio was heavily wooded—none of it cleared. Not even was there a road laid out. Some of the Bricker sons and daughters came to Ohio and settled on this land, building cabins of rough logs. These houses were like a song I’ve heard: They had “clapboard roofs and puncheon floors[1], a crack for a window and a quilt for a door.” The clapboard roofs were split out of logs about four feet long. They had small trees and saplings put up for rafters. Then poles were put across them to lay the clapboards on, and poles over the clapboards to hold them down. The cracks between the logs were filled with pieces of wood and clay plaster to keep out the cold. To collect the logs, they had what they called “log rollings” where they would burn felled trees.

There were some Indians around then, and some were savage. They killed a family not far from where Chesterville, Ohio, now is. The people near Mount Vernon built a block house to protect them from the Indians. There were also some wild animals—bears, panthers, and plenty of wolves. I remember hearing my folks say that a catamount, or wild cat, came into our upstairs, leaving our house by running down the stairs and out a side door.

My grandmother, Barbara Koonsman, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1789. She came from a family of six children (three boys and three girls). Her brothers were Jesse, George, and Daniel; her sisters were Nancy and Elizabeth.

John Bricker made a trip now and then back to Pennsylvania by horseback. Once he took with him some maple syrup in saddle bags. Some trip, was it not for a horse! He stopped at a tavern to stay the night and took his saddle bags upstairs to his room. He didn’t sleep much that night, as he thought several times that he heard somebody on the stairs. He would raise up in the bed to let the supposed thief know that he wasn’t asleep. Apparently somebody thought that he had something valuable in the saddle bags.

Another man went the same trip on horseback, and when he was on his way, his horse became lame. He stopped at a blacksmith shop to have his horse examined; it had a wire around its foot above the hoof. The blacksmith said, “You better examine your gun”; the traveler did and found the chambers filled with ashes! He re-loaded it and went on his way. He came to a woods where a man, all blacked up, came out and waylayed him. The traveler said he would shoot, but the robber only laughed because he thought the traveler had a gun full of ashes. But, to his amazement, the traveler shot real bullets! And the robber was the tavern keeper!

As time went on, John Bricker and Barbara had more children, making a total of six (three boys and three girls). First there was the eldest, Rebecca (who was born in Pennsylvania in 1809); next a boy, George; then the third, Aaron; then Mary; then another son, Solomon; and finally, Sarah (the baby of the family, who married a Higbee). When Rebecca was only twelve years old, John Bricker died of tuberculosis, leaving Barbara (my grandmother) with six small children.


Chapter 2: Changes & Civil War

There have been many changes since my grandmother, Barbara Koonsman-Bricker-Rush, came to Knox County in Ohio. I am now 83 years old, but I can remember that there was a big two-story building called the Market House where people came with their wagons full of produce. They drove onto the Public Square (also called Monument Square), unhitched their horses, turned them to the back of their wagons, and fed them.

Some people lived upstairs in the Market House. I remember an old man named McGrady who had a shoe shop there. He lived in a large brick house on Mulberry Street (second house from Chestnut street, on the west side). Later his daughter lived there. And then her adopted son, Charles Blair. Now those buildings are gone and the Mount Vernon Post Office stands on the corner of Mulberry and High Streets, on the northwest corner. On the northwest corner of the Public Square, there was a restaurant at which one could get a good meal for 15₵. One night it burned down. Now the whole block is built of brick.

As Christmas is near (it is now December 20, 1943), I will tell you, these people had a real Santa. A man would come around with nuts and cakes. He would say, “Will you pray?” and they all knelt. Then he would scatter nuts and cakes to see them go after them.

We think we have hard times, but let me tell you: They had no stoves as we know them today. Instead, they had what was a fireplace built of flat stones, plastered up with clay. In this fireplace was placed, lengthwise, an iron rod. On this rod were hooks called trunnels, on which they hung their iron kettles and tea kettles. When they fried meat, they pulled some coals out on the hearth and set their iron skillet on these coals, as well as their coffee pots.

They also had what they called “Dutch ovens” in which they baked their bread. These were approximately 12 inches in diameter and six inches tall, with legs about two inches long and an iron lid. When their bread was light enough to bake, they scraped coals of fire out of the hearth, placed the Dutch oven on them, and put coals of fire on the lid. Yum! Yum! Was that bread good! Maybe you think I don’t know! (My step-grandmother had an oven and baked to please me.) People also had clay ovens in their yards that were big enough to bake six loaves of bread or pies at the same time. They would build a fire in these clay ovens and let it burn down to coals, raking the coals out and putting their bread and pies in to bake.

I remember that when I was small, after the Civil War, there were quite a few tramps (or “beggars,” as they were called in those days) running around the country. One day mother and I were alone when one came to our house. Our dog didn’t like tramps; he would meet them before they could get to the door. The tramp went first to one door, then to the other. But our dog “Old Bull” met him there and the tramp finally went away. One evening, while my father and I were at my Grandmother’s, a tramp came to our house (which was nearby). There was a hogshead[2] in the yard, with a pig in it. We surmised that he thought we were in it. We watched him until he left, then my father went home.

A man (whose name I can’t recall now) went out hunting and was belated. A bear had overtaken him and he had crawled up a sapling, which bent down with his weight. The bear stood on its hind legs and reached the man, but he kicked it’s nose until it bled. Some of his friends went out to hunt for him and found him there.

When John Bricker (my grandmother’s first husband, but not my grandfather), was boiling down maple syrup, wolves would come so near he could see their eyes. But they were afraid of fire and did not come close. One night, my grandmother heard them outside and said she guessed they got our sheep—but the sheep were safe. One day an Indian came to their door, asking for bread. Barbara ran out past him, leaving two small children in the house alone. But, as she said she had no bread, the Indian went away.

Now, as I said, I was born in the year 1861, and I remember seeing the soldiers that came home in their blue suits. The men from the North went to the South and burned buildings and destroyed properties. I heard a Northern Army soldier tell me how they took pianos, tore them up, and made bunks out of them.

A woman told me there was a band of Negroes that went forth to kill the white people. One Negro woman wanted to save her mistress. She had on a full skirt, which she spread over her mistress until the men had passed.

There were good slaveholders and bad slaveholders, just like some men are good and some are bad today. I think those slaves could have been bought and freed. Then there would have been no bloodshed. The Northern soldiers drew pensions, some who said they never carried a gun. Did the Southern soldiers get pensions? No! But the South had to pay a part of these pensions. Even our northern states were affected by the war and farmers couldn’t get much for their livestock and produce. Eggs brought six and eight cents a dozen; hogs four cents a pound; butter eight cents a pound; a good-sized chicken twenty cents. It was several years before times improved.

An example of men’s cruelty to animals: I heard it said that a man somewhere in West Virginia struck his horse on its head with a shovel. The horse kicked the man in the stomach and killed him. I think he got what was coming to him.

As I said previously, when Rebecca was only twelve years old, her father, John Bricker, took tuberculosis and died (on May 9, 1821). This left her mother with six little children, including Rebecca. In 1826, Grandmother was married to Peter Rush, who had been a bloomer by trade (a bloomer was a furnace and forge in which wrought iron blooms were made directly from ore). He lived on a farm near Bloomfield, in Morrow County, Ohio.

She went to live with him there. They had two boys: Jeremiah, who was born on May 1, 1827; and Ananias (my father), who was born on September 4, 1833. Soon thereafter, they moved to my grandmother’s farm west of Mount Vernon, where another son, Andrew Miller, was born on June 4, 1843. My father was reared in the same house (a log cabin) in which I was born. Andrew Miller, his youngest brother, was also born in that cabin, and they lived there until they were grown. Then they built a frame house in the same yard, which still stands today (1943) and is nearly 100 years old.

My grandfather, Peter Rush, was a soldier in the War of 1812. The Commissioner of Pensions states: “Peter Rush served from August 28, 1812, to October 31, 1812, as a private in the Company commanded by Captain Jacob Young and John Greer of the Ohio Militia. In 1855 he was 77 years of age and a resident of Knox County. He received the B.L. Warrants 35620-120-55 and 15980-40-50.”

My father, Ananias Rush, on January 11, 1860, married Martha Ann Roop, a twin (who was born on March 31, 1834) of Margaret Roop—and moved back into the original log cabin. On January 5, 1861, a daughter was born to them, which, of course, was I. My father and mother did not live in this log cabin long. Father’s oldest brother, who had lived about a half mile west, on Grandmother’s farm, moved to Illinois and we moved into his house. Another brother, Jeremiah, had moved to a place just west of Richwood, Ohio.

Besides her twin sister Margaret, my mother had six brothers and three sisters: Frederick, born March 18, 1819; Peter, born March 31, 1824; John, born November 28, 1831; Jacob, born June 19, 1836; Michael, born May 23, 1839; George, born August 13, 1842; Elizabeth, born August 31, 1821; Catherine, born September 15, 1826; and Mary, born April 14, 1829. My grandfather, on my mother’s side, was John Roop, who was born July 18, 1787 and died October 22, 1859. My grandmother was Catherine Meyers, who was born October 30, 1797 and died July 29, 1857. They were married on January 29, 1818.

When I was a child, the land was not tiled and the ground was very swampy. Many people suffered with ague (an intermittent fever), something we never hear mentioned today because the land has since been tiled.

My Uncle Jerry’s wife, at Richwood, complained of ague, so my grandmother wanted my father to go to Richwood and move them back to Knox County. Father and Mother started for Richwood one afternoon in a wagon with a team of horses. I, of course, went with them. We went the first day as far as the home of Filo Pruner, a brother of Uncle Jerry’s wife, near Sparta, Ohio. We stayed the night at his home. Then Filo, my father, my mother, and I started out the next morning for Uncle Jerry’s. My father and Filo each drove a team hitched to a “big wagon.” We took dinner with us and ate it at Whetstone River Bridge, an old covered bridge.

We forded the Scioto River, as there was no bridge then where we had to cross (they were just building one). The water was so deep that it nearly came up to the wagon bed. We arrived at Uncle Jerry’s about sundown; I think we stayed two nights and a day before starting back home. I remember it rained nearly all the way home, and the cover we had for protection from the rain was only two bed sheets. I was six years old and I remember that trip like it was yesterday. Mother and I and two of Uncle Jerry’s girls, Dicy and Emma, rode in one covered wagon. The two men, Father, Filo Pruner, and Uncle Jerry’s oldest son, Arnold, rode in the Pruner wagon. We brought back with us some of their household furniture—a cupboard in one wagon and a bureau in the other.

Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lavina then had a baby girl named Barbara (named after my grandmother). Barbara was born on March 25, 1867. At the time of this writing, she is 76 years old. The boy who came with us from Richwood, Arnold—born on July 28, 1856—is now 87 years old. They both live in Pasadena, California. As soon as Uncle Jerry’s family was able to travel, they loaded the rest of their belongings into his wagon and came back home to Knox County. They moved into a cabin near Grandmother’s until they could get another house. Uncle Jerry’s brother had a house and some land. As soon as his brother’s house was empty, they moved into it. While living there, they had a baby boy, Raymond (making five boys and five girls). That last baby boy was later a Methodist preacher, but is now retired, being 74 years of age. Another son, Benton, lived in Oakland, California. Only these four of the ten children are living at this time.


Chapter 3: School

When I was about six years old, I started to school. My first teacher was a young man by the name of William Bricker. He taught three months, then took a vacation. Viola Bricker then taught three months, beginning the first of June and continuing through August. Then no more school until December, January, and February. No teacher taught more than three or four months at a time.

Manda Hagerty taught one summer and Mother visited the school. I remember different teachers. Miss Hagerty had “red” hair. When my mother was very ill, I was not sent to school. But the winter she died, a young man by the name of Russell Robertson taught at the Bedell School where I attended. He was studying medicine at the time, in the winter of 1869 and 1870.

My mother died on January 8, 1870, when I was nine years old.

As I said, I went to school only part of the time. There were about 75 pupils in the school. The teacher boarded with the Sylvester Pratt family. One day, while he was gone for his dinner, the boys decided to shut the teacher out. There was no lock on the door, so they braced some of the benches against it and wouldn’t let him in. This was all because they wanted him to treat, it being Christmas time.

Dr. Robertson taught two terms at this school and turned out to be a fine doctor. After he began practicing medicine, I went to him when I needed a doctor’s services. Once he told me that, when I was his pupil, I was so timid that he was afraid to say anything to me. He died the summer before I was married.

My grandmother, Barbara Koonsman-Bricker-Rush, was the mother of nine children, the six born to her and John Bricker, and the three born to her and Peter Rush. Her husband, Peter, had six children by his former wife (three boys whose names I recall were James, John, and William; two of the girls were named Mary and Margaret). I do not recall the names of the other girls. By the time Peter and Barbara’s children were nearly grown, the fields had been cleared so they could raise crops on them.

My grandfather Peter Rush had a loom and my Aunt Rebecca learned to weave cloth. They raised flax, and of this flax, they took the straw and hackled it: Made it into thread and wove it into linen sheets and other articles. They raised sheep and had their wool carded[3] and spun into yarn. They knit their own stockings and made flannel. They also made what they called Lincy Woolcy[4] for men’s clothes. The warp was linen and the filling was wool.

I have told you that I was an only child. I guess my mother and father sort of spoiled me. Mother always took me to church and I would sing and think I was as big as anyone. I had several cousins to play with, one who was nearly three years older than I. We each had our dolls and played house. There was a woods near my cousin’s home. We would go there, mark out a floor plan, and cover the supposed floor with different kinds of moss. I remember that place when I was almost grown. At my home, we played “in the shade of the apple trees.” I also remember playing “keeping store.”

In our house was a large chimney. Outside the chimney was olay burned red that we used for sugar. I once had a family of four gray kittens which we dressed up one day. My Mother decided to get rid of them and took them away, but brought me a blue and white cat instead.

My mother always had poor health, but when she became seriously ill, we sometimes had a “hired girl” (what maids were called in my early days). Sometimes my father did the housework with my help, and my Aunt baked our bread and also helped out (as did some of my mother’s nieces). I remember that one time I wanted chicken to eat. Mother told me, “You can have one if you can kill it.” I was about eight years old. I caught a chicken and took a corn cutter and cut its head off. I then scaled and picked it. I can’t remember the rest, but presume my father cooked it. I also remember that one time we were out of bread and I said I could make biscuits if Mother would tell me how. Father put some flour in a pan and I made the biscuits. I remember what a time I had getting the dough off my hands.

When Father would be in the fields working, I would go to the milk house and skim the milk and feed the calf—while my mother was sick in bed. I also had to do other things, such as sweep the floors and make the beds. Playtime was over for me. Mother kept getting worse. Hannah Meeker stayed with us until after Mother died and we held her funeral. It was in a home where my father’s half-brother, Uncle George Bricker, had lived before he went to Illinois to live that my mother died on the 8th of January, 1870. I was nine years old on the 5th of January. My mother was laid to rest in an old family burying ground and was the last one to be buried in it.

My father and I then went to live with my Grandmother. In a year-and-a-half (sometime in the last of June, 1871), my father remarried, this time to Delia Ann Lewis. They lived in the home with her father and mother. A year later, a baby boy, George Franklin, was born to them. The Lewises had a beautiful eight-room home, six rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs, and there were beautiful pine trees in the yard. There were two springs of cold water and a spring house with water running through it. All went well at first, but later clouds began to gather and that beautiful house wasn’t a happy home.

Before my father married the second time, I spent a lot of my time in the field with him, sometimes riding a horse to help him plow corn. I wonder that I hadn’t been killed. My Aunt Rebecca was always saying, “You will get her killed.” Once I slid down over a horse’s head. Another time the horse was tied to the limb of a tree; the horse went under the tree and raked me off behind his heels. Another time I was riding home to dinner when our dog ran out of some bushes and frightened the horse, which jumped and threw me off. I thought every bone in my body had been broken, but I got up and walked home.

I also spent much of my time fishing. There was a stream of water called Armstrong Run. There was a big sycamore log on one side of the Run and a deep hole was washed out beside it. There I sat for hours catching fish. I remember once seeing how many I could catch. I caught fifty minnows, some about as long as my fingers (about three inches). When I was older, and when my Grandmother was sick, I would lean over that sycamore log and snare the bigger fish, called Suckers. I’d take them home and they would fry them for Grandmother. I could have drowned and they never would have known where I was.

On December 11, 1873, my father died with pneumonia, leaving Delia Ann with a baby boy eighteen months old. Then, in about eighteen months, Delia Ann’s father died, leaving no man around to help keep the place beautiful. Two weeks before his death, my father came to my Grandmother’s and took me to where he lived, with the Lewises. We then traveled to Friendship Church, from which we proceeded back to his home. In the evening, he took me nearly home to Grandmother’s. That was the last time I saw him until the day before he died.

I think he had a premonition that his time was short on this earth, for he talked to me until I nearly cried. He told me he wanted me to be good to Grandmother and Aunt Rebecca. He turned and looked at me and said, “I can’t do much for you now as long as John Lewis [his father-in-law] lives,” then he went back to their home. About two weeks later my cousin Arnold Rush said to me, “Did you know your pa is awful bad sick?” That was the first I had heard of his being ill. The next day my Aunt Sarah Higby went with me to see my father. He was as bad sick as he could be and still be alive. Then he said to me, “You will not have a father here much longer, but be a good girl and you will have a father in heaven.” He died the next evening.

I was nearly thirteen years old—old enough to realize what I had lost, for no one loved their father more than I did mine.

My father was laid to rest in what was known as Liberty Chapel Cemetery. How well I remember: My Uncle Miller Rush took Grandmother, Aunt Rebecca Bricker, Aunt Mag Rush (his wife), and me in his wagon to the funeral. Ben Lewis took Pap’s horses (I called my father “Pap”) to his wagon and took Delia Ann, her father and mother, and little George Franklin, to the funeral. George Franklin was only one-and-a-half years old (he never remembered his father; he was reared by his mother and grandmother Lewis). On the day of the funeral, the roads were muddy and the mud was deep. When they went to put my father’s casket in the grave, there was so much water in it that they dipped it out with a bucket before they could lower the casket. But he wasn’t there: His spirit had gone to its giver and his body had gone to “Old Mother Earth.”

My father’s death hastened the death of my grandmother, who passed on May 10, 1874, at about 85. I was left then with only my Aunt Rebecca. The coming fall, Aunt Rebecca and I went to the home of her daughter (my cousin), Rose Thayer, where I lived most of the time until I was about sixteen years old. Many were the times my grandmother would look out the window toward the way my father always came and say, “Oh, will I never see my son come anymore?” Father’s mother, my dear old grandmother, tried to make up to me for the loss of my mother, but nothing and nobody can fill a mother’s place.

After the sadness of losing Mother, Father, and Grandmother, I enjoyed life, for it seemed that everyone befriended me, realizing that I was an orphan. However, seeing other children caressed by their parents caused me to miss my father and mother more, and it would leave me an ache in my heart that none will ever know.

As I said, it was about eighteen months after Father died that Delia Ann’s father died. By that time, I was practically a grown woman. I often went to see Delia Ann and my half-brother, George Franklin. They were always glad to see me. One night Grandmother Lewis fell down the cellar steps, broke her hip, and wasn’t able to walk again for a long time—except by pushing a chair ahead of her.

After the death of my mother, father, and grandmother, and the schoolhouse being quite a distance away, I did not go to school very much. As I have said, I was all alone and had scarcely nobody and nothing to fall back on.

When I lived with my old aunt and said anything about wanting books, she would say, “When I went to school, if they had an English reader and a spelling book, that was all they needed.” My mother being sick so much, I was neglected. I was sent to school until I was ten years old—with nothing but a McGuffy spelling book. One of the neighbor girls asked the teacher, Joan Phillips, if she didn’t think I could have a first reader. She said, “I will see.” She had me read a piece from my spelling book and said, “Yes, I guess you can have a first reader.” I was overjoyed. I went home, told my father, and got the reader.

When I look back over the years, I wonder, “Is it really me?”, like the old woman who got her petticoats cut off. I didn’t have a first reader very long until I got a second reader, then next I was ready for the third reader. I was eleven then. We had left some chickens at our old house. They had laid some eggs there and hatched some chickens, which had grown to a size large enough to sell. One day I decided to take my old dog and catch some of these chickens and send them to town to get myself a third reader and spelling book.

My dear cousin, Rose Thayer (the one called “Grandma”), took those chickens to town and got my books for me. You now wonder about where my other books came from. Well, dear “Grandma” Thayer lent me an arithmetic book, a neighbor girl another book, and so on. This neighbor girl, Clara Newell, was instrumental in helping me get my first reader, and also got me into what we called the Lower School (a school that took up after my school, the Bedell School, was out).

The Lower School had a sweet little teacher by the name of Ella Rogers, who lived with her grandfather, Henry Pratt. Her mother was also dead. It was she who taught me to write. She had me get some foolscap paper[5] and she made me a copy. It was there that I got my first lessons in penmanship. I am not the best scribe now, but, like the speed in which I learned to read, I soon learned to write pretty well. I went from the third to the fourth reader, then to the fifth reader—but no farther. I never was the best in arithmetic, but can make out. As I said, with no one to encourage me (and as I didn’t have the books that I wanted), I quit school and didn’t go much after I was thirteen years old. Now children have an armful of books.

When I was sixteen, I was small for my age. People didn’t think I could do much work. They would say they didn’t think I ever would be very big. I wanted so much to grow and get big like the other children. I seemed to be healthy enough, but I had slept with my grandmother when she was somewhere in her eighties and on the downward road. Therefore, it has been suggested that perhaps I was stunted. After she died, I didn’t live with old people and I started to grow. By the time I was twenty years of age, I was as big as most other girls, but people never thought I was as old as I was. I didn’t keep company with the opposite sex as early as some others did.


Chapter 4: Maple Sugar & Nannies

As I said previously, after my grandmother’s death, my Aunt Rebecca and I went to live with my cousin Rose Thayer. She lived close to a woods where there were maple sugar trees. I decided to tap some of these trees. I put crocks and a jar beside the trees to catch the sugar water. I put an iron kettle on a pole, built a fire under it, boiled the water down, and made some maple sugar. I had made enough maple sugar that, when sold, brought enough to get me a dress and a belt.

Then I got an awful headache and felt like my brains were flopping up and down. The next morning I was broken out with measles. That stopped my sugar-making. Cousin Rose and Aunt Rebecca had to give me their “cure-all.” They got some spicewood and made some tea. And what else do you think they put in the spicewood tea? Sheep “nannies” (sheep manure). They knew I wouldn’t drink it if I knew what was in it, so I was not told until after I got well. However, as you know, it didn’t kill me.

I don’t know if I ever had the mumps. I remember my cousin Olive Rush was once where they had mumps. We heard people say to rub your neck on a hog trough and you wouldn’t get the mumps. We both rubbed our necks on a hog trough and we didn’t get the mumps. But I may have had them before that. I had been exposed at different times later and never got them.

In connection with the making of maple sugar, I am reminded that, when I was seven or eight years old (or perhaps younger), there was a sugar camp on my grandmother’s farm. Uncle Miller Rush tapped the trees. He took a ¾” bit and bored holes in the trees and drove two spoils in the holes he had bored. Spoils were made of alders with one side shaved off and the pith pushed out. The sap (or sugar water) ran out of those trees, through the spoils, and down into a trough that had been made from a piece of a butternut tree. It was hewed out and made into a trough.

The water was then carried from these troughs in buckets and put into barrels. It was then put in 18 or 20-gallon kettles which were placed over a furnace made of stones and clay. These kettles were hung on so-called trunnels made from wood. These trunnels were made with a forked end, with one end cut off and hooked over a pole. The sugar water was then boiled down to a syrup, keeping a big fire under the kettles. When the syrup reached a certain consistency, it was strained. If syrup was wanted for table use, it was taken off the fire before it got thick enough for sugar. When sugar was made, the syrup was boiled down real thick. It was then stirred with a large wooden paddle until it got crumbly. Grandmother had what they called a wooden cask, which held four or five gallons. I remember getting sugar out of that cask.

I just heard on the radio somebody talking about making a cake. I remember one of my first cakes. My step-mother had made a cake and, after she put it in the oven and it began to rise, she stirred it down. I told her I would make a cake for her. I was about twelve years old then. I made a cake and it wasn’t so bad.


Chapter 5: Work

Today, as I proceed with this history, it is January 8, 1944, and just 74 years ago today my mother died. I was nine years old. I look back and see the many changes. Father had a sleigh for traveling when snow was on the ground. In the summer, he would hitch two horses to a spring wagon. Sometimes he would hitch the horses to a “big wagon.”

I did not have a home like other girls. I would go places and do housework for people until they didn’t need me any longer. They would say, “I guess we don’t need you any longer,” then take me to my aunt’s or my uncle’s (my Uncle George Bricker’s). An old gentleman by the name of Hatcher had heard of me and he came to see if I wouldn’t come and live with them. I was just past fifteen. I went and stayed there five days. Mrs. Hatcher was eighty years old and was an old maid when she married. She was very queer and all the time when she would lie down, she would groan like this: aah, haa, aah, haa. So much that I couldn’t’ stand to hear her, so I told them I was needed at home. They gave me 50₵.

In the meantime, Nicholas Darling came for me to go to their house, as his wife wasn’t very well. They had no children. There was just Nicholas and his wife. She had been another “old maid,” as queer as one gets. But for all that, she was good to me in her way. She paid me $1.00 a week, but I had most of the work to do except baking. (Remember, girls didn’t get wages then like they do now.) I lived in their home about five months, then came back to my cousin Rose Thayer’s and Aunt Rebecca’s.

Later Mr. Darling came after me again, but I stayed there only two weeks, as his wife didn’t want to pay me what the work was worth. When he told her what he was to pay me ($1.50 a week), she said she wouldn’t have asked for my services, so I said I would go home. Then she wanted me to stay, but I was hurt by her saying what she did.

I walked some distance, to Fredericktown, Ohio, where my cousin Mary Thayer was working. I was thinking I could get her to go home with me on the train, but she refused, as she was expecting her friend Charley Hatten. Her mother, cousin Rose, had learned about Charley Hatten and sent Mary’s brother Elias to bring her home. When she told my cousin Rose and my Aunt Rebecca about my wanting to come home, they sent Whit Higby after me. He came with two horses, one with a side saddle for me to ride. The Darlings didn’t like my leaving, but such was life for me. Someone would come and say, “Can I get you to help us for a week or two?”—till they got their work done—then I would pack my clothes and go back home until somebody else wanted me.

When I was about 22 years of age, I went to work for a family by the name of Anderson. Mrs. Anderson was a nice woman. She told me they once had a “hired girl” by the name of Frye and how Mr. Anderson and his hired hand had hauled water for their livestock in a barrel and had put her in the barrel. One would hold her and the other would drive. While I was there, they got a new baby. When Mrs. Anderson was in bed and I passed Mr. Anderson on going out to milk the cow, he pulled me down on his lap. There was a table close by with some books on it. I got off his lap, took one of those books, and threw it at him—hitting him in the mouth. Was he mad! I got out the door as fast as I could, but he sent his boot after me. He didn’t like me after that, but there was no love lost between us. I decided to leave them and go back home to my cousin’s.

I wasn’t home yet when our neighbor, Mrs. Charlie Blaire, wanted me. I went. And what a difference! I didn’t have nearly the work to do—and I felt right at home with them. They had two little girls that liked me and I liked them. They would argue over which one would sleep with me. I was there eight weeks and they paid me the same wages as the Darlings did. After that I was a regular visitor in their home. When I went there, the little girls didn’t want me to leave and their mother always wanted me to stay. They were more like my own people than neighbors.

We lived across a field from the Blairs, about a mile, and to get there I would go through a valley where there were trees on both sides of the road and where birds of different kinds were, such as Blue Jays, Red Birds, and Merry Brown Thrush.

The two Blair girls, Lottie and Nellie, grew to be young ladies. But the eldest, Lottie, incurred tuberculosis and died. This, naturally, nearly broke her parents’ hearts, as well as the hearts of her grandparents. The younger girl, Nellie, got married to a school teacher by the name of Charles Body. Before these two girls were grown, a son was born, named Herbert (and a badly spoiled child he was). Then another girl named Mary. Nellie and Charles Body had one little girl when Lottie died.

The Blairs were good Christian people. Early in life they had parties at their home, as they had a big house. My cousin and I were always invited to these parties—oyster suppers, and so forth. Later, when I worked away farther from home, I didn’t visit them so often. I was at their home after I was married, then they left the farm and moved to Mt. Vernon. We were living in Mt. Vernon at the same time.

I worked for Deacon Travis for, I think, fourteen weeks. They paid me $2.00 a week. Later I went to Curtis Grubb’s for two weeks and it was from them that the James Ramsey’s heard about me. I went to the Ramsey’s and could have stayed there, but the Leonards offered me $2.00 a week, so I was there six months, after which I returned to the Ramsey’s.

From the Ramsey’s I went to work for a family by the name of Banning. They owned a flour mill and lived in Mount Vernon. Mrs. Banning was a nice person, but had never done much work. They had a little boy, William, who was three years old. William would walk up to anybody who came in the house and say, “I will spit in your face.” His father wouldn’t permit his mother to correct him. One day he said to me, “I will spit in your face.” I said, “If you do, I will wash your mouth out with soap. He said, “Wash my mouth.” I picked up a cloth and washed his mouth.

He cried and his mother came in and wanted to know what was the matter. I told her and she said, “Well, Willie, I can’t blame Ella.” Later she told me that had broken Willie of this bad habit. (I told him about this when he was grown.) Mrs. Banning said, when she showed me her diamonds, that she wouldn’t show them to other girls she had had. The father, mother, and this son have all gone to their rewards. The Bannings paid me only $2.00 a week and I left there after six weeks. There was too much work for this money.

I was always treated with great respect except by one old lady, a Mrs. McIntire. Mrs. McIntire had two girls who always wanted to be near me when I was there. Mrs. McIntire had a sick mother and the preacher and his wife came to see her and were going to have prayer. She asked her daughters to come into the room, but they wouldn’t go in without me. Then I asked to enter the room to have prayer, and Mrs. McIntire made a remark that humiliated me.

I also went to Levi Braddock’s and was there six weeks when I decided to quit and made the excuse that I was needed at home. Then I decided I would go and be a chamber maid at the Gambier School for Girls. But before I was ready to leave, John White came for me to work for them. It was from there that your daddy started keeping company with me.

I stayed a part of that winter at my cousin Rose Thayer’s, then went back to the Ramsey’s and stayed there until I was married to your father on November 26, 1890. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Joseph Hamilton, the same minister who preached my mother’s funeral and who was pastor of the Methodist Church called Liberty Chapel (which my mother had attended, with which I was united, and where my father was a member after my mother’s death—and where he was baptized and laid to rest).

As I have said, I quit school at sixteen and, as I wasn’t left with much of this life’s goods, I went out to make my living amongst strangers. I was 23 years of age when I went to live with the Ramsey family, who had one child, a boy nine years old. They were grand people and Mrs. Ramsey was like a mother to me. Their names were James and Almeda. It was about seven years from the time I went to live with them until I was married.


Chapter 6: Family

On February 2, 1891, your father and I moved onto the Peter Allerding farm—where we lived for three years. On this farm, David Harold was born on April 23, 1892 and Cecile May on October 6, 1893. We then moved onto the Ramsey farm, where Irene Elizabeth was born on January 30, 1895.

We then bought a farm of 70 acres, known as the Dave Travis farm, which is between the two Delaware roads, about seven miles west of Mount Vernon. We moved to this farm on April 1, 1895. On July 30, 1896, Floyd Jacob Bryan was born. On May 25, 1898, twins, George Andrew and Rose Anna, were born. And on September 23, 1900, Mildred Marie was born. All on the Travis farm.

In recalling the past, when we lived on the Allerding farm, near the Ramsey’s, I went to town in a cart, driving a horse we called Jack. At the Ramsey place I passed some boys, among whom was “Do Do” Ringwalt. He reached over with a whip and hit Jack (a colt your daddy had brought from home), who started to run. “Do Do” was a mental case.

When we lived on the Ramsey place, Daddy hitched up a horse named Dandy—a colt Grandfather White had given him—and we went out to look for hogs. When we got as far as the Lewis place, some boys in an old shop scared Dandy. The horse started to run and turned the cart over on its side, where I was sitting, throwing me between the side of the cart and the wheel. I was dragged until Dandy got loose from the cart. But Daddy held on and Dandy made a sled of him, pulling him by just the lines.

Daddy lost the skin off his little finger and I had a fractured rib. And were we muddy! But we were lucky not to be worse off. Daddy kept Dandy until the fall of 1900 when Mildred was born, then sold him and bought a mare we named Rock (to raise colts).

The first colt was a horse I named Captola. She had Queen and then Belle. Queen and Belle were our team when we later lived in Mt. Vernon. Daddy bought a mate for Captola, which we named Morgue (after the man by the name of Morgan from whom we purchased him). Daddy sold this team to make the final payment on a house we had bought in Mount Vernon, on Sandusky St. Incidentally, the man who bought this team was blown to pieces by nitroglycerine—a sad ending. But not the horses he had bought from us, Cap and Morgue.

When I look back over my life with Daddy, I recall the first year we lived on the Allerding farm. I went out and raked hay in a green calico dress, which got caught in the gears of the rake and was ruined.

When we left the Ramsey farm and moved onto our own farm between the two Delaware roads—the David Travis farm—Irene was two months old. I couldn’t help much, but as soon as I could wrap up the children and take them to the barn, I would leave them in the “entry” while I did the milking and feeding. Sometimes your father would take a load of hogs to town in the afternoon, getting home at night. I would take the lantern, go out to meet him, and stay with him until he had his horses put in the barn. I did this until the children got big enough to do it.

As I said, I always went to the barn and put feed in the boxes for the horses when your Daddy was gone. When we were on our farm, I mowed hay, raked hay, loaded hay, cut corn, and hauled in corn. Why did I do it? To get ahead and have something for my children.

I was just thinking how you children used to go to meet your Daddy when you would see him coming up the road from town toward home. He would stop and let you in the wagon and almost always have a sack of candy for you. But longest joys don’t last forever. As I said, your Daddy would occasionally go to town in the afternoon, then seldom got home until late at night. You children would be in bed, but I always stayed up and got his supper and took the lantern and held it for him until he got his horse unhitched.

I remember that one time I was holding the lantern when “Old Rock” jumped at me. (She was very mean about biting people.) I started backward and couldn’t stop until I fell down. One time I rode the mowing machine to cut clover for seed, with Mildred on my lap a part of the time. Once, when all the children were at school, I said to your Daddy, “You harness the horses and, when I get my work done, I will hitch them up and haul in a load of corn.” Then he would drive it to the house and unload it while I got dinner.

Just remembering and living life over again! Having a family, there was work for all. One day I sent Irene and Floyd to the potato patch to dig some potatoes. Irene was about five years old and Floyd eighteen months younger. I heard Floyd cry. He had bent over to pick up some potatoes and, when Irene went to dig some more, she struck just in time to hit him on the nose. When he came to the house, his nose was bleeding and the right nostril was closed by the hoe hitting it—a thing that should have been taken care of by a doctor. But your Daddy wasn’t one to have a doctor for “little things.”

When Mildred was three years old, I wanted to go to see my Aunt Margaret Smith (my mother’s twin sister), who lived in Hebron, Ohio (near Newark). We had a field of small corn, which your Daddy said was so short he dreaded cutting it. I said, “If you will take me to see Aunt Margaret, I will help cut the corn.” I helped out on that and another field. We got a neighbor to stay with the children and drove “Old Rock,” hitched to a buggy, to Hebron. I think we stayed about three days.

I have prayed that the Lord might spare my life to make my son Harold a home, for it seems no one in the family wants to keep him in theirs. He has an ungovernable temper and some think he should be put in a home for the feeble-minded. However, he is not one who could be called “silly.” At times, he seems as bright as other people. When he went to school, he didn’t learn like the others did, but he can read and can tell a lot of what he learned in history.

The children all went to school, and Cecile and Irene passed the Boxwell examination (required before entrance to a high school). But where were they going to stay while in school? One day we were driving up Sandusky Street in Mount Vernon and noticed a house for sale. It was the home where my cousin Emma Rush-Secord had lived. Your Daddy went to see the administrator, a Dr. Wagner, and bought the place.

When school began in the fall, we moved the two girls down into some of the rooms of this house which were unoccupied. Then we moved from the farm to this house the first of April, 1910, when Cecile and Irene were still in high school. Four of the others went to grammar school there. Cecile decided to quit high school and got a job in a dry goods store and then got married. But Irene continued in high school for three more years. We them moved back to the farm, leaving Cecile and Irene at the home in Mt. Vernon. Later George entered high school.

Cecile married Frank Koletka on August 18, 1913. On October 20, 1914, a baby girl, Rose Marie, was born. They soon went to live in Huntington, West Virginia, where her husband’s people lived. Then they had a son, Jack. Irene also married and had a baby girl, Anita. Cecile got work in a dry goods store in Huntington and asked Irene, who had given up housekeeping, to come down to Huntington to keep house for her—which she did. When Anita was a year old, Irene saw an ad in a newspaper for a stenographer. She answered it and got the job. Then she sent for my last girl, Mildred, who went to Huntington (leaving me all alone with their father and two boys, Harold and Floyd George). In the meantime, Rose married.

When we moved into our own home. The house was larger and newer than where we had rented. It had a shingle roof on the main part. But your daddy thought a slate roof would last longer, so he decided to put a slate roof on it. He, my half-brother Franklin, and Charles Hatten (my cousin Mary Hatten’s husband) put the roof on.


Chapter 7: The Fire

One day later, George (who was too young to go to school), put wood in the heating stove in the dining room (a stove we called the “parlor cook stove”). It was dry rail wood. The chimney was built on two wood planks. They caught fire.

The fire was making good headway when Cecile and Irene discovered there was a large hole burning in the ceiling. Your father was at the far end of the farm. I sent two of the children to him, two to our neighbors (the Myerses), and put a 15-foot ladder up on the house. I screamed “fire” as loudly as I could. The neighbors came running and said they could have heard me for two miles. Your daddy went up on the house and said “We will have to cut a hole in the roof.” He did and found the fire was going up the rafters. If he hadn’t, the main part of the house would have been on fire.

This was the fall, when men were getting ready to sow their wheat. Thus, the house just stood there as it was, with nothing done to the flue or roof. Night after night, I would look up at that flue and see if there was any fire there. After Daddy got his wheat sowed, Charles Hatten helped him tear the roof off the dining room, build a bedroom on the south of the dining room, move the pantry from the south to the east of the dining room, and raze the kitchen and move it to the south. The door, which was formerly on the outside of the house, now led to the pantry. The door which had been the south outside door to the dining room now went into the bedroom.

Then we made stairs to the basement out of what was our long sitting room on the southwest corner of the dining room, and made a back stairs leading from the downstairs bedroom. The roof over the dining room was razed and we made a bedroom over the dining room. An outside entrance to the basement was also built. This was all done in the fall of 1903, when Mildred was three years old.


Chapter 8: Crystal Anniversaries & Farms

When we were married fifteen years, we had a crystal wedding anniversary. Two preachers were there, Rev. McBroom and Rev. Warren Bedell. Rev. Bedell was a schoolmate and friend of my father. There were about 100 people present. We set a table in the front yard, had a 10-gallon can of ice cream, plenty of cake, and a whole stalk of bananas. The party was not to get presents, but to get our friends together (although we received some very nice crystalware; I still have some pieces left). There have been many changes since then.

Those two ministers and their wives have gone to their reward and only a few of the others are left. My children are all grown and married—except Harold. Some of their children have married and now have children.

Daddy’s mother died in the fall of 1896. Your daddy did his father’s farming until his father died in the fall of 1898. Your daddy’s father wanted he and his brother David to take over the place, but his daughters Jennie McKinstry, Mary Doty, and Sarah Lacey went to court and took the estate out of the administrator’s hands. It was then sold by the Sheriff and Judge Wayt bid on it. He tried to settle with your daddy’s brother, John White, but he couldn’t get him to agree to anything. Judge Wayt came out from Mt. Vernon on two different days. He ate dinner with us the first day and said he would eat the next day with John, but that John was so cross, he came back and ate dinner with us the second day.

Thus, Daddy gave up getting any of his father’s farm. John and Cassius Ewalt (sister Anna’s husband) got a surveyor’s chain and parceled land off the west side and wanted Daddy to take it, but he let them have it all.

Later, Ransom Yaokum sold Daddy eighty acres from his farm to the north of ours. Later a man who owned what was called “the McIntire land” sold him fifty acres. Daddy came home from town the evening after he had bought the fifty acre tract and said, “I did something bad today.” I said, “What did you do?” He replied, “I bought the fifty acres over there” (making us 206 acres). The first year we owned this fifty acres, I think we must have harvested 200 bushels of wheat off that place. The next year Daddy, with the children’s help, put up seven big ricks of hay off the same field. The children rode the horses and dragged in the shocks. Elder McBroom helped him that year. We all worked and saved.

I can remember that, after we were married and during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, we sold hogs for three cents a pound. Later that year, we got seven cents a pound. When I was a child, and after the Civil War, muslin was 15₵ and 20₵ a yard. I remember that I got muslin later for 6₵ and 8₵ a yard, and once I bought calico for 3₵ a yard.

Later, when the South began to rebuild and raised more cotton, prices came down to where calico and prints that had sold for 25₵ came down to 10₵ and 12-1/2₵. Woolens sold at $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00 a yard, and there was not much that we could afford to buy (the effect of the Civil War). Times finally got better and farmers were paid some better prices, but not until the last twenty-five years did farmers get better prices for what they produced. But, really, these were the good old “wagon” days, before the automobile. Fewer people were killed.

Your father was the youngest of eleven children and is the only surviving member at this date. His sister, Anna, died two years ago, the 13th of January. We were married fifty-three years on November 26, 1943.

At the time of this writing, I am in Huntington, West Virginia, with my daughter Irene. I will be 83 years old on January 5, 1944. I don’t amount to much—only keep Irene company. My daughter, Rose Anna (Riley) is at our place, keeping the home fires burning. Your father is quite feeble for his years and not as able to work as I am.

Your Mother,

S/ Rosella Rabinski


If you’ve finished this term paper-cum-mini book of American history, you deserve an amusing anecdote. Granma Rabinski had provided me with only hardcopy of my great-great grandmother’s manually typed paper (we must remember, it was written in late 1943, nearly two years before the end of World War II).

The availability of only a physical copy, with nothing digital, meant I had no option but to manually type the paper on my laptop. A small task for such an interesting chunk of history, right?

Until the file became corrupted during my final edit. I had to not only repeat the editing, but also re-type all of the words. Every last one of them.

So if you find me channeling my great-great Granma’s writing style, you now know why….


[1] A type of floor characterized by roughly hewn floorboards, common in log cabins during the colonial and pioneer days of the United States.

[2] According to Wikipedia, a hogshead is a large cask of liquid or food. A tobacco hogshead, for example, was a very large wooden barrel (in standardized form, it was 48 inches long and 30 inches in diameter and weighed roughly 1,000 pounds) and was used in American colonial times to store tobacco.

[3] According to Wikipedia, “carding” is a mechanical process that disentangles, cleans, and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web or sliver suitable for subsequent processing.

[4] Known today as linsey-woolsey.

[5] According to Wikipedia, this is lined, legal-size paper that is called foolscap because, in the 18th century, folio-size paper featured a watermark of a fool’s cap.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Project Portland

I am beginning to focus on developing several series of articles regarding cannabis wellness and science, not just standalone pieces. This has two advantages: 1) It allows for the creation of smaller, more easily consumed articles while 2) simultaneously permitting readers to explore a specific sub-topic in greater detail, if they please.

In other words, presenting learning content in the form of an article series, including multimedia elements, is a more practical way of consuming educational materials. If our overarching, collective goal as a movement, culture, and emerging industry is to educate average voters in the real science and value of cannabis, we must make facts and opinions easy to consume and comprehend.

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A cannabis legalization activist in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Our educational materials can’t require too much time or effort on the part of our target audiences, plain and simple. We must entice and reward, both intellectually and spiritually, those who question the efficacy of cannabis or its benefits to patients with PTSD, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders—among many other conditions.


Welcome to the first installment in one of these series: Project Portland.

Travelogues have never been my specialty. However, tens of millions of cannabis consumers across North America fantasize about living in a place where the cultivation, purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis flowers, and derivatives thereof, are fully legal.

portland-oregon

I’ll replace this image with one of my own. Nice vantage point.

There are a few places in the United States—if you’re a cannabis advocate, way too few—where consumers can enjoy these progressive liberties. The shortlist includes Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Anchorage.

Exploring Oregon

Readers deserve to see beyond media hype, aggressive marketing, and social stereotypes to know what it’s really like for a patient or regular cannabis consumer to live someplace like Portland.

Because good investigative journalism doesn’t come easily and I like a good challenge, I’ll be spending a week in Portland over the 4/20 High Holiday to check out Oregon’s largest city (what better time, eh?). Just for safe measure, I’ll also be traveling south to Eugene to check out some of the local gardens and personalities.

Portland is known for many things, including its support of craft businesses (think breweries, coffee shops, dispensaries, and new companies like Smuggle Portland). It is arguably best known as the most bicycle-friendly metropolis in the United States. To test this part (because life is about more than just cannabis), I’ll be taking my bike.

cannabis-for-performance-enhancement-gooey-rabinski-4

A backyard bush in Toronto, Canada.

Perhaps a more organic exploration of the city, via walking and cycling—while leaving the internal combustion engine car at home—is appropriate for the culture in Portland that embraces organic farming, cannabis medicine, the arts and music, and great food.

What Do You Want to Know?

Project Portland will be more impactful for all of us if you tell me what you want to know. Do you live in Ohio? Kentucky? Florida? Is prohibition weighing down on you like a 10-ton boulder—and making you wish lived in Boulder?

During 2016 and 2017, more than a dozen states will consider the legalization of cannabis for adult use. For the wave of legalization to continue, Americans must be educated in the real science of this plant and how it helps everyone, from terminal patients and those who need to survive current or previous abuse to those who simply need to mitigate stress.

We must, against all efforts of the U.S. federal government, throw off nearly a century of propaganda, misinformation, and fear mongering to achieve a more enlightened, science-based view of cannabis among the masses.

gooey-rabinski-interviews-bushy-old-grower-3

A home garden in the American Midwest.

So let’s all gain an education together. I’m suited up with a new camera and several mobile devices to help ensure that the photos and videos that accompany the words herein are as entertaining as they are educational.


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Gooey’s Cannabis Queries: Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of answers to queries directly from readers—all of which come in at exactly 420 words (out of respect to your time).

To set the mood, just listen to Cab Calloway tell you how it is…in 1932 (five years before cannabis became illegal in the United States).


Today’s request comes from Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare. She sells a groovy hemp-based lotion that ensures that your tattoo stays as perfect tens years from now as the day you got it. She is also a big supporter of cannabis education and learning. Which is how I met her.

nurse-mary-j-ink-tattoo-aftercare

Nurse Mary J Hemp Tattoo Aftercare (Photo credit: Nurse Mary J).

Nurse Mary J is curious about the most common misconceptions of our favorite plant, cannabis. Great question, Nurse Mary J….


The Toke Hold: It might as well be called the “choke hold,” because holding one’s breath when inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor is actually counterproductive. Your lungs nearly instantaneously absorb the THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis smoke or vapor.

According to Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, human lungs are able to accomplish this feat in part because they feature the surface areas of a tennis court.  In fact, when one holds one’s breath, all they achieve is depriving their brain of oxygen (a decidedly bad thing).

Cultivation Collateral: Some home cannabis cultivators falsely believe that allowing plants to grow as long as possible results in more cannabinoid-bearing resin or more potent resin. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true.

In fact, once the trichomes (nearly microscopic resin glands) on the flowers become cloudy, the harvested cannabis medicine will increasingly be narcotic indica-like. Less cloudy generally results in a more sativa-like, energizing effect.

thoughts-on-suicide-gooey-rabinski-6

A home garden in the American Midwest.

Amotivation Syndrome: Many cannabis critics cite the ability of some strains to produce a lack of energy and motivation (what those in the culture often call “couchlock”). In reality, there are two types of cannabis: Sativa and indica.

Sativas have a reputation for being uplifting, energizing, and promoting creativity and productivity. Indicas, on the contrary, are often better for pain management, sleep, and appetite stimulation (great for patients with Crohn’s, cancer, and those undergoing chemotherapy).


Mango Mania: Let’s close with an urban legend regarding cannabis that’s actually true. Eating a mango can really amplify the effects of smoked or vaporized THC. Why? It’s because the mango contains a terpene called myrcene (pronounced “mur-scene”). Myrcene is known to amplify THC.

Steep Hill Labs in  San Francisco claims that >0.5% myrcene (by volume) in a plant results in an indica, whereas below this level will produce sativa-like effects in patients. 


All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Autonomous Cars: Not Why You Think

As Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Part of the change on the vehicular landscape is autonomous, or self-driving, cars.

In a 2015 LinkedIn Pulse post, John C. Abell, an excellent writer with a history at Reuters and Wired, wrote a post entitled Self-Driving Cars: A Super Cool Idea Whose Time Will Never Come. While I agree with many points in his article, I disagree with the overall premise.

I believe self-driving cars will come to fruition and populate our roads by the millions.

700,000 Accident-Free Miles

Abell began his article by citing the milestone of 700,000 accident-free miles driven by Google’s autonomous Lexus and Toyota vehicles in the Mountain View, California area. Because LinkedIn’s offices are close to those of Google, Abell often sees Google’s robotically driven vehicles on the roads.

He wrote, “Some dreams come true, but I’m very skeptical about self-driving cars,” citing one of his reasons as the fact that fully autonomous vehicles aren’t that much safer than cars equipped with “driver assistance systems” such as “lane-drifting warnings, drowsiness detection, and adaptive cruise control.” While I need to do more research, I understand what he’s saying here. Although I think fully-automated vehicles are the safest option of all.

Abell then states “If driverless cars can reduce accidents, that would be a compelling argument. Consumers respond to safety ratings, especially if they have children.” Other than his overall prediction of the demise of self-driving cars, this is my main point of contention.

Drivers Don’t Care

I once Tweeted “The only true reality is consumer behavior.” I don’t think the average car buyer knows if the model they’re considering has received a five-star crash rating. And I don’t think most consumers care. A car buyer’s biggest safety concern? I’d bet my next book advance that it’s “Does it have airbags?” Even the planned Elio car, at only $7,000, would feature three airbags.

Because nearly all vehicles on the road today, in all price categories, feature airbags, even this has become an assumption and a moot point—and probably a question rarely asked of dealership salespeople.

I inquired with my friend Buzz Smith, a senior salesperson at a Dallas/Fort Worth Chevrolet dealership about his opinion. “My experience is probably five percent or less [ask about safety issues]. Most ask about horsepower, miles per gallon, warranty terms, and available colors,” he said, adding, “I think cars have gotten to a point that it is assumed they’re safe.”

Autonomous cars will offer amazing safety and significantly reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. There’s a reason Google’s robotic cars have achieved nearly a million accident-free miles. And they’re only test mules and prototypes, not market-ready production models!

Convenience is Key

That said, I simply don’t believe it will be safety that entices buyers to jump on the self-driving car bandwagon. As a society, we’re more hedonistic than safety-focused. This is similar to how, for most buyers, it’s not environmental concerns that are the chief motivator for purchasing an electric car like a Nissan LEAF or Tesla Model S (it’s saving money on gas and maintenance, or technolust and having the coolest car on the block).

Instead of safety concerns, it will be convenience that drives consumers to purchase autonomous cars.

We are a nation of convenience. There’s a reason even Pizza Hut and Walgreens have a drive-thru. Consumers with work commutes will desire an autonomous vehicle so they can recoup their commute time. They’ll use their “drive time” to help their career by studying, working, or even holding mobile meetings. Others will simply mess around playing full-on Angry Birds or commenting on their friends’ casserole recipes or deer hunting photos on Facebook.

Most of us don’t own sports cars and aren’t auto enthusiasts. Driving is a chore. I’m weird; I love it (even in crappy little econoboxes). I get plenty of opportunities to drive my wife’s car. Whenever we travel together, she would rather sit in the passenger seat. She’s more like the average middle class driver than me.

Legal Liability

Abell’s other point regarded legal liability. He wrote, “If a self-driving car is in an accident, who—what—is to blame? I wouldn’t want to be sued if I didn’t play an active role.” Agreed. Which reminded me of an article I had read a few months earlier.

Regarding liability, Google actually thinks it should be liable! According to The Atlantic in a May 19, 2014 article entitled Google’s Self-Driving Cars Have Never Gotten a Ticket, Ron Medford, safety director for Google’s self-driving car program (and former deputy admin for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) said, “What we’ve been saying to the folks in the DMV, even in public session, for unmanned vehicles, we think the ticket should go to the company. Because the decisions are not being made by the individual.”

Trippy. And likely not words that will put a smile on the faces of Google investors. Something tells me that the insurance industry needs to prepare for some serious disruption. Allstate, Nationwide, USAA: Are you paying attention?

But I don’t think it will be Google that popularizes autonomous cars (although it may hold an impressive patent portfolio or partner with major automakers). It will more likely be Tesla and Nissan. I think Google will be off developing contact lenses that tell me if I have testicular cancer….

[For an excellent high-definition video about Google’s driverless car tech, check out this video.]

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All text Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

Improving Coffee

No, this isn’t an article ranting about Starbucks. Rather, it’s about cost-effectively making the best possible coffee at home—while spending as little as possible. There are no $800 hipster frap machines in this article.

I write about consumer technology. The machines that grind and brew coffee are tech gadgets, after all. Besides, a large percentage of the high-driving professionals on Twitter and LinkedIn consume quite a bit of java to keep the motor running and sustain productivity.

Personally, I typically opt for a good cannabis sativa. In fact, that is my preferred mode of “energizing,” if you will. But that doesn’t abate my love of good coffee.


In some respects, there’s no right or wrong here. If you prefer Folger’s instant, that’s cool (although you probably don’t get out much and are likely a friend of my mother). Coffee snobs, however, frown on such bourgeois concoctions. And then there’s the rest of us. We don’t want crap, but we also don’t want to spend $800 on a boutique coffee machine that will produce results for which we can’t taste the difference.

So how, exactly, does one affordably produce great coffee at home?

I asked myself the same question toward the end of 2013. I was using a cheap $20 Hamilton Beach machine I had purchased at a Walmart in San Antonio. Because I knew that freshly ground beans improved quality and flavor, I also had a $20 blade grinder. The value proposition was high: For $40 in hardware, I was enjoying thoroughly mediocre coffee. Even when I purchased top-shelf beans.

What to Get?

So when my kids asked me what I wanted for the holidays that year, I said a good coffee maker. After a few hours of research and watching customer reviews on YouTube, I finally decided on a model.

And what did I learn? That good coffee is about much more than simply a good coffee maker. It’s also about the particular type of grinder you use and how you store your beans. Um, you do purchase fresh roasted whole beans and toss them in a grinder, right?

Ultimately, I went with the $160 8-cup Bonavita with a thermal carafe (I drink coffee for several hours in the morning and often into the afternoon, so the thermal carafe has been invaluable for my particular use case).

Granted, you can spend much more than this on a fancy coffee maker. A buddy of mine has a $300 espresso machine (but he’s into latte fraps; I’m not). Like most areas of life, you can spend literally thousands of dollars on a high-end coffee maker. But most of us are middle class schleps; this stuff has to be affordable.

Where I really gained some schooling was in terms of the basic science behind good at-home coffee. First, most coffee makers don’t heat water to a temperature high enough to properly extract the oils and all of the coffee goodness from the ground beans. The Bonavita, like only a few other moderately priced consumer models on the market, heats the water to 205 degrees F (96 celsius).

If the water isn’t at least 200 degrees, forget extracting the best flavors from even the most luxurious coffee beans. So I had taken care of the temperature problem exhibited by the majority of coffee makers on the market—even some of the more expensive models.

Bean Grinders are Critical

What really blew my mind was the important, albeit critical, role of a coffee grinder. There are two types of grinders: Blade and burr. You want a burr grinder.

Blade grinders are bad for a few reasons. While they’re good in that they’re the least expensive variety, they’re bad because they produce an uneven, coarse product. Also, blade grinders, based on the physics of how they operate, generate too much heat. Your coffee beans are already roasted.

A blade grinder basically roasts them a bit more, adversely affecting the flavor. This is a pain because you want to thoroughly grind your coffee (depending on your particular brew method), but you don’t want powder. But the more you grind it, the more you harm the flavor and quality due to the heat you’re creating. It’s a primitive double-edged sword, and your taste buds are the victim.

Enter the burr grinder. These types operate much more slowly, crushing the beans between stainless steel conical burrs. This both alleviates the heat produced by blade grinders and results in a much more uniform grind (avoiding the chunks and dust of their bipolar blade-based cousins). About the only downside of a burr grinder is that some models can be loud. Like holy-crap-wake-the-family-loud (I actually used mine on my outside deck one morning in an attempt to not wake my kids and their sleepover guests).

Tonx Talks

If you want to watch a short, humorous video about this topic, check out Tonx Talk: Making Do With A Blade Grinder on Vimeo. Within the video, an employee of Tonx coffee, a high-end roaster based in Los Angeles, states: “Coffee nerds hate blade grinders, and for good reasons. Burr grinders…[allow] you to make small adjustments and to dial-in your brew method. Blade grinders are like really cheap food processors; they hack away at your beans and leave you with [a] chunky mess. They really suck.” She adds, however, that

“A crappy blade grinder can still give you a decent cup if you start with fresh roasted whole beans.”

There are two types of burr grinders: Conical and flat plate. Grinders featuring flat plate burrs are superior, but typically cost-prohibitive for consumers. They’re found on the commercial models at your local coffee shop and overkill for almost all at-home coffee drinkers. Conical burr grinders are much more affordable, don’t produce unnecessary heat, and deliver a nice, even grind.

I chose a Bodum Bistro conical burr grinder I found on Amazon for $130. I know. Nearly $150 for a grinder—not even a coffee machine—is a steep proposition for many middle class consumers. My overall investment to improve my coffee experience was about $330. But when you consider how much you pay for good coffee beans—and how much Starbucks and other shops want for a decent cup, especially if you drink it on a daily basis—it’s an investment that pays for itself over time.

Probably the best thing most people can do is purchase whole beans, not pre-ground coffee and acquire a nice burr grinder. If nothing else, this will elevate the quality of your coffee by leaps and bounds. If you really want to hit a home run, get any coffee maker that is guaranteed to heat your water to at least 200 degrees.

Final Advice: Storage

The final advice for good coffee is storage. First, understand that storing your raw beans in the freezer to maintain freshness and quality is a myth (this can lead to nice debates with your parents, who may have been doing this for decades). Why? The freezer removes the moisture from the coffee, something that’s critical to its freshness and flavor.

No, you don’t want your beans to get too moist or humid, but you also don’t want anything near what a freezer will do to them—especially over time. It’s about a fine balance, grasshoppa, and the freezer blows it, dude.

The rules are simple: Store your coffee beans at room temperature and away from light and air. Personally, I use a BeanSafe stainless steel storage container that I got on Amazon for $25.

If you’re tired of the crappy java your Mr. Coffee or Hamilton Beach model delivers, try spending a few more bucks and getting one that heats the water properly. Then get a good burr grinder and a purpose-built storage container for your beans. And don’t forget the advice of Tonx: Always use freshly roasted, high-quality beans.

You may love the results.


All text Copyright © 2003-2016 Gooey Rabinski. All Rights Reserved.

Gooey Rabinski is a writer, instructional designer, and cannabis satirist who has contributed feature articles to magazines and media outlets such as High Times, The KindSKUNK, Cannabis Culture, WhaxyHeads, Weed World, Green Flower MediaCannabis HBK11RenderHealth Journal, Green Thumb, and Treating Yourself.

He is the author of Understanding Medical Marijuana, available on Amazon Kindle.

His cannabis-related freelance photos, spanning back more than a decade, are available on Instagram and Flickr. He tweets from @GooeyRabinski.