anti prop-19 email from pot doctor

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         Dark_Green_Button_appt_1 2              Dark_Green_Button_loc_1 2              Dark_Green_Button_refer_1 2                  September 2010
Dear [Patient Name],

As many of you may know Proposition 19 – The "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act" – will be on the November 2nd ballot and we feel that it is our responsibility to provide you, our patients, with relevant information about the proposition.  Below are a number of excellent resources that summarize and comment on the legal and economic ramifications of Proposition 19.  We urge you to educate yourself so that we all retain the rights afforded to us for the past 15 years under Prop 215.

1) A recent review of expected legal effects was published in the October issue of The Connection Magazine, "Marijuana Patients & Lawyers Say No on 19".  Download the October issue as a PDF and scroll to Page 15.

2) Many cannabis patients and users are against Prop 19. The content below has been extracted from the following website –

How will Prop 19 affect you?

. Are you age 18-20? You will not be allowed to consume cannabis legally under Prop 19. You will still need a medical recommendation to do so.

. Do you live in the same "space" as a minor? (Space could mean anything from the same house to an entire apartment complex.) You will not be allowed to consume cannabis.

. Do you rent your home? Prop 19 will only allow you to grow cannabis if you have permission from your landlord. Due to the risks involved, many (if not most) California landlords do not allow it.

. Do you grow cannabis with a doctor recommendation? Prop 19 may be interpreted by law enforcement and judges to limit your grow space to 5'x5'.

. Do you provide your extra medical cannabis to dispensaries? It may be a crime to do so if Prop 19 passes. In addition, large Oakland growers and tobacco companies will take control of the market and push you out.

. Do you currently have to use your medical cannabis anywhere but home? Prop 19 may prevent patients from using their medicine anywhere in public. Which for many people with illnesses is not always possible.

. Do you sell your extra medical cannabis to other medical patients? Prop 19 may make this practice illegal. Even if you are only selling it to cover your growing cost.

. Do you currently enjoy the use of cannabis free from Government interference? Not only will the Government impose excessive taxes under Prop 19, but the federal government will likely respond with unprecedented action against California cannabis users. "The federal Controlled Substances Act makes it a felony to grow or sell cannabis. California can repeal its own marijuana laws, leaving enforcement to the feds. But it can't legalize a federal felony. Therefore, any grower or seller paying California taxes on marijuana sales or filing pot-related California regulatory paperwork would be confessing, in writing, to multiple federal crimes."

3) Please find a comprehensive summary and review of positions both FOR and AGAINST Proposition 19 on this website:,_the_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_%282010%29


We hope that this information is helpful in your decision-making regarding Prop 19.


In Health and Happiness,


Hanya Barth, M.D.

Compassionate Health Options


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Our professional, friendly physicians offer medical marijuana evaluations to provide patients with the ability to use marijuana as a part of their medical treatment under California Proposition 215, also known as the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5, and under SB420, section 11362.7. This promotion may not be combined with any other promotions, discounts or offers.

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Carl Curtis Wayne

Carl Curtis Wayne, age 65, passed away on May 19, 2002 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born the only son of Virginia Mae Curry and Carl Leonard Wayne, on October 23, 1936 in San Diego CA.

A 1955 Sweetwater High School graduate, he was well known throughout National City, California for his accomplishments, both social and athletic. Carl played almost every sport in high school, and despite his height of just 5’6″, he excelled in football as a running back and in baseball as a leftfielder. He also lettered in track his sophomore year. He was a member of the Hi-Y and the Block S Society and served in the class legislature both his junior and senior year at Sweetwater.

In 1959 he was drafted into the United States Army and was stationed in Verona, Italy. In the summer, he coached the swim team on Lake Garda and in the winter he skied the alps while leading the Army Ski Team.

Upon his return to National city in 1963, he attended Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California and served as the school’s first ASB president. He returned to playing football, and was known as the “Old Guy” to his college teammates. He supported himself by coaching the National City Swim Team from the mid 1960’s through 1969. This was a job he loved and was known to have his young students prove their skills by diving off “The Clam” in La Jolla, California. [[ His new career in the restaurant business would take him to the California Bay Area]], a region he fell in love with, and then later Utah, where he ran the lodge at Snow Basin Ski Resort. In 1984 he moved back to California and in 1989, he came home again to live in National City. By this time, his disease had already begun to take hold, though he fought it off with good humor and courage.

He was an avid runner who ran several marathons, his last at the age of 52. His proudest running accomplishment was running in the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, California. Fittingly, this year’s event was held on the day he passed away.

When he wasn’t running, he was reading. He owned and read thousands of books. He was a walking encyclopedia. When on long road trips with his family, he would tell them about every mountain range, river and national monument they would encounter as if he were reading from a guide book. This amazing quality was also apparent, much to his family’s chagrin, in their inability to ever beat him in a game of Trivial Pursuit.

He loved the outdoors and hiked all over the world. Camping and hiking were among his favorite activities. He was a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practiced in his own life.

He was an uncommon man with enormous complexity. He was extremely charming and warm and loved by everyone he met. He was an athlete, an intellectual, and an outdoorsman. Although Alzheimer’s slowly robbed him of all of these things, until it took his life, the man and everything he was, will live forever in the hearts of all who knew him.

One should have insight into
this world of dreams that passes
in the twinkling of an eye.

Carl is survived by his wife of 16 years, Shay Wayne of National City. His children, Timothy Curtis Wayne of San Francisco, Mitchell Frost Wayne of National City, Jennifer Lynne Wayne-Schaeffer (Joe) of San Diego, Hattie Shay Wayne of National City. Three Grandchildren, Joey John, Jacob Jamus and Clara Lynne Schaeffer. Stepson Eric Bishop (Jennifer) of Preston, Minnesota. Private services were held June 8, 2002.


(Keywords for article:  Carl Wayne obituary. Carl Curtis Wayne obituary.  San Diego. Sandy, Utah. Layton, Utah. Ogden Utah. Snowbasin Ski Resort. Wendys. Carl “Buck” Wayne. Cogel’s of Redding. Sweat Pea.)

Facebook + Safari FAIL

My damn Safari browser is supposed to stay logged in to Facebook, right?

8:30 AM. I follow a link in Gmail to a facebook comment. I am greeted by this:

And then a couple hours later, when I am checking my email, I see another link to another Facebook comment. So I follow it. I get this screen instead:

and then again at 2:30, following another link in my email to FB:

….and again at 5:00 PM:

Obviously, it’s easy to put in my password. But I’d rather the damn browser save it. Like Firefox does.

Stupid Safari.

A Democratic Strategy on Gay Marriage

A Democratic Strategy on Gay Marriage
by Eric Jaye

Last year the Democrats had numerous opportunities to stand on principle — and in doing so show they had the courage to stand for something. No opportunity was greater than the raging debate over gay marriage.

Facing an evenly divided electorate, Republican strategists surmised that victory in 2004 lay in driving turnout among their base voters. That’s why they placed attacks on gay marriage on state ballots in swing states. They believed that such a debate would drive turnout, particularly among low-turnout Christian evangelical voters.

What did the Democrats do? By and large they ducked, with poll-crafted drivel that made them seem like typical politicians, not courageous leaders.

Most voters do not yet support gay marriage – although support for equal matrimonial rights has risen dramatically in the past decade. Polls show a sharp generational divide, with the majority of voters under 40 in support of gay marriage and the majority of voters over 60 strongly opposed.

But in this day and age, most swing voters reserve more venom for vacillating politicians than they do for two gay people deciding to adopt the bourgeois convention of lifetime commitment and matrimony.

It is this disdain for vacillating politicians that allows President George Bush to take so many controversial stands yet still win elections for himself and his party. It’s called leadership and voters reward it.

On a woman’s right to choice, Iraq, environmental protection, outsourcing and Social Security – Bush is ‘wrong’ from a pollsters’ perspective. Yet, why does he still seem so right to so many voters?

Bush wins by being “wrong” because his controversial positions resonate as authentic. American voters don’t agree with him on key issues — but they tend to believe he “stands up for what he believes.” In a political landscape in which character matters more than ideology, Bush wins by seeming “real” to voters.

So while Bush seems authentic at the very moment he is pursuing a political ploy to excite his right-wing base – Democrats seem weak and untrustworthy – not just to their base supporters, but to the broad mass of swing voters.

With a few exceptions, most Democrats simply lack credibility when they say they oppose gay marriage. We have the honor of belonging to a party that has been on the forefront of the civil rights movement for more than 50 years. Most voters, in most states, expect us to stand for civil rights – even when these very same voters are taking a go-slow approach.

So who do we think we are fooling when we mumble finely nuanced positions on gay marriage? The truth is we are only fooling ourselves.

We have now survived an entire generation of poll-tested politicians and incremental politics. Finely crafted “agreement” messages, once an innovation, are now an invitation to ridicule. Not just late at night on television, but at almost any hour, we can all enjoy a good laugh at the expense of a politician who is merely reading from a poll-tested script.

So what’s the right answer when Democrats are asked, “Do you support gay marriage?” The right answer, in almost every case, is the truth. And in most cases, the truth is “Yes.”

First and foremost – by saying “Yes” we are standing for something, even when the majority of voters don’t yet support our position. And telling the truth makes us sound like real people, not like robo politicians. But more than this – by saying “Yes” we can seize political terrain that allows us to drive the debate, not duck it.

And we are finding that when we take the offensive on the issue of gay rights and gay marriage, we can make real progress. At the very least, we have a fighting chance when we stop ducking the issue of gay rights and start debating it with clear and concise language.

Along with a team of top-notch consultants, we worked on the successful campaign in 2004 to repeal Article 12 of the Cincinnati City Charter, which allowed discrimination against lesbian and gays. Just this month we helped defeat the Topeka City Question in Topeka, Kansas that would have allowed discrimination against gays. Both campaigns were played out in the context over the debate on gay marriage.

Last year, as former consultants to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, we were closely involved in presenting the “winter of love” gay marriages to the public. We were also part of the unsuccessful effort in Oregon in 2004 to defeat the attack on gay marriage.

We took away from those successes, and that failure, the belief that when it comes to gay marriage the simple truth is better than a complicated lie.

But more than that – in the long run we can’t win if we don’t debate. And let’s not fool ourselves, this debate is not going away. The Republicans put it on the agenda, and they will keep it there, particularly so long as we refuse to even articulate our own position.

Cautious Democrats should face the fact that no position on gay marriage is the weakest possible stance. Silence is read as support for gay marriage. And your silence is seen as political at best, cowardice at worst. As a party, we might not have chosen this fight. But it is here. Unilateral surrender is not a workable strategy.

And to my fellow consultants I would offer this hard-learned lesson. Anti-gay marriage amendments are being fought on the basis of gay marriage — not some “hidden flaw” or “costly consequence.” These measures are not analogous to some down-ballot initiative that we can define. Voters know what they are about — gay marriage.

In California, we found during the San Francisco gay marriage insurrection that support for gay marriage increased slightly across the state, and support for civil unions increased dramatically, after we captured the airwaves with images of couples who were absolutely unremarkable in any way other than in their desire to profess life-long love and responsibility for each other.

First in Cincinnati, and then in Topeka, we won campaigns against discrimination in part by seizing the language of morality, rather than ceding it to our opponents.

We crafted mail pieces entitled “Not Just on Sunday,” and “Daily Bread,” that took up the language of the Lord’s Prayer in defense of tolerance and equal rights every day.

We didn’t hide from the issue. We didn’t run from the moral debate. We embraced it – and won. Democrats around the country have nothing to lose, and so much to gain, from doing likewise.

Marine tattoo ban is stupid and wrong

The following was written by my friend Patrick Mulroy. I have his contact information if you want it.

Marine Tattoo BanAs of Sunday April 1st, the Marine Corp will ban large tattoos below the elbow or knee. The new Marine Corps Commandant, General James Conway, believes “tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values.” I’d caution the general that sending our Marines to die in an unprovoked war far more painfully violates our traditional values, including President George Washington ‘s cautions against foreign entanglements made in his farewell address.As an eight year Navy veteran, I am painfully aware of the constant threat of arbitrary decisions from above that waste time and erode morale. This tattoo ban is a dim-witted idea. Why add another petty stress to already stressed–out Marines being deployed, extended and redeployed in the meat grinders of Iraq and Afghanistan?One Marine interviewed by the San Diego Union –Tribune said this new edict from on high would factor in his decision on whether on not to re-enlist saying policies like this were ‘slowly chipping away at us.” How can the Marine Corps leadership, in good conscience, institute a pointless policy that demoralizes the troops in time of war?Understand that all military services currently ban tattoo content that is vulgar or offensive. This new tattoo ban is about the size and placement of tattoos, not content. The Army has recently relaxed it’s tattoo standards to allow ink in previously banned areas, the lower neck and back of the hands. This seems a reasonable concession to service members risking their lives daily under terrible conditions.This new Marine Corps policy is a major time-waster. Unit commanders will be required to photograph and document current sleeve tattoos on their Marines to ensure new ink is not added. Is this what the American people want their Marines to spend time on prior to dangerous wartime deployments? I’d prefer they conduct training that will hone battle skills and save lives.Violating the tattoo ban could result in disciplinary action including prison time and a dishonorable discharge. War is an exercise in extreme stress and daily morale challenge. Disciplinary action should be reserved for those who fail that difficult challenge. Let’s not punish our Marines for commemorating a fallen comrade with a forearm tattoo. No General in Marine Corps history has dared to do this, until now. Is General James Conway wiser than Marine Corps icon General Lewis “Chesty” Puller? Clearly not.On November 22, 2006, General Conway complained to Congress that the pace of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq was putting “an unacceptable strain on his troops.” I agree. Why add one more petty strain to an organization pushed to the brink? Why deny one more personal choice to Marines who have no say in decisions and policies that will alter their lives and minds forever?The Marine Corps tattoo ban is stupid and wrong. Any American who respects and admires Marines, their sacrifices, and service should oppose this misguided new policy.Write, e-mail and fax your Congressman, the Secretary of Defense and the President asking them to reverse the tattoo ban. Let’s return this small personal choice to those who risk everything for our sake. 


Patrick Mulroy served for eight years on active duty as a line officer in the U.S. Navy. He depolyed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Fox (CG -33) in 1988-89 towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war. He served for several years in the Naval Reserve and now teaches college English and writing in San Diego, California.


Burning Man Redux

NOTE: This is not the review. The Burning Man Review is here.


Burning Man Redux

By Patrick Mulroy

(note: we wrote this about a week after writing the Burning Man Review. This is a collection of our thoughts regarding the feedback we have received from writing the review.)

I’ve enjoyed the huge response we’ve had from my Burning Man essay: over 10,000 readers in four days. Yow! My friend Tim has enjoyed his role as queen bee and mother hen in arranging your responses. To the humorless few FnFers who picked on him, I suggest less ecstasy in your future. Your serotonin deficiencies have left you GRUMPY. In truth, if not for our awesome history of fun at FnF camp outs, we would have had nothing to compare our dismal time at Burning Man to. We expected Burning Man could be like the FnF Summer Camp Out times 100. In truth, it was all the fun we had at FnF divided by a hundred. In any case, many of your responses were hateful, angry and not in the spirit of FnF. Note: The alleged “bitter” and angry narrator of my piece was a character in a meta-fiction, not a real person, certainly not me. As for me, I don’t believe cannibalism or full-blown fascism will come to Burning Man until at least 2009.

The majority of readers seem to understand that my piece was meant to be creative and humorous -not investigative journalism. Though my facts were all accurate, my interpretation of these facts was personal and exaggerated. Some loved it, others hated it-few were indifferent. Most long-time burners agreed that the event has gone downhill over the years as the crowds have increased, along with the price of admission. In any case, the essay led to much lively discussion on the past, present and future of the event.

I was touched and proud to be invited back by many long-time burners and others with a sense of humor about my review. Many of you know that Burning Man is in trouble as an event, but you keep the faith and keep contributing to its potential for success. The event has morphed over the years from a gentle child with a wild streak to a wild gigantic insane child with a gentle streak. I applaud your courage for babysitting this deranged and ape-strong unpredictable child.

If you love Burning Man, it was not my intent to crap on your Christmas. I know that for many the annual trek to Black Rock City is Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Halloween all rolled up into one week. You spend a lot of money and time preparing and always have a great time. My rant was never aimed at you. If I had met fewer thugs and more cool burners, I know my trip would have been more enjoyable.

I was especially not aiming my rant at those burners who mainly serve others at Burning Man. Your goodwill and service is likely the only thing keeping Burning Man afloat, despite the growing influence of the bullies and yahoos. Burning Man will end one day, Larry Harvey will retire a very rich man, but your kindness will be remembered by the people you served with love on the playa. Of that I have no doubt.

Some of you were offended by my paragraph about the greeter. She was greeting us in a full on dust storm wearing the flimsiest of dust masks. Her enthusiasm and good cheer were amazing considering the shit conditions she was laboring under. I don’t really think she was on acid. That was a joke. It’s just that I could not imagine someone being so positive and perky under the miserable conditions she worked under that night. Her charm and enthusiasm, and that of her fellow greeters and underpaid workers and unpaid volunteers was wonderful and was not meant to be mocked. I’d French kiss you all, but I won’t since I know where your tongues have been.

I am not opposed to nudies, wild drug use and promiscuity in principal. However, when I’m shivering from exhaustion and altitude sickness, my tolerance for other people’s weirdness diminishes. Add some bullies and yahoos lecturing me on my missing “costume” and you can see how BM starts to look like a bunch of jerks and bullies telling me how to behave and dress. I was over that sort of bullying in high school. “Fuck your day” yahoos. I paid Larry and his cronies $300 to walk around in the worst time-share on Earth: I’ll dress any way I goddamn please.

If there is one redeeming quality of Burning Man it is the idea of letting people be their true selves for one week. For some, this is achieved by walking around with their cocks or coochies in full view or perhaps by dressing as a furry dog with no pants. In my mind, this is the most dull and superficial kind of weirdness and is about as creative as trick dog poo. However, everyone has to start somewhere on their journey to true perversion and weirdness. I fully support these weirdo kindergarteners as they try to be interesting. All I ask is that I not be attacked for being weird in my own way. My weirdness does not involve costumes, glow sticks, pacifiers or gratuitous nudity, but is no less profound. My friends and I could all teach postgraduate courses in weirdness, despite our pedestrian dress.

Some objected to the odd political turn at the end of the essay when I linked the playa bullies to the current failed regime in Washington. This moment surprised me too when I wrote it. It was clearly out of step with the rest of the piece but it seemed true so we left it in. I’ll gladly surrender all my Christmas gifts from here on for impeachment hearings next year. Please God, as we Irish say.

Note that despite my rant vs. Burning Man, I don’t call for it to be abolished or banned. If Burning Man continues to go downhill, it will disintegrate on its own. If the bullies are not reigned in someone is going to get killed, an “Altamont moment” which will end this twenty year adventure in a horrible way.

I hope that Burning Man improves, becomes less fascist and less all-white, and lives up to its potential for fun and creativity. I don’t expect life-altering “magic” but a cool party where all were welcome and none were bullied would be nice. Also, sexier nudies and free ice would be sweet. See what you can do Larry.

That’s all for now. Peace on the playa.


Burning Man Review

On the long drive back from Burning Man, my friend Patrick and I talked about our many experiences during our week on the playa. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of Irritating Moments. We decided to write up a review and post it on my blog to share with the world. 

Achtung Hippie! : Reflections on the Burning Man Scam
Patrick Mulroy & Tim Wayne

The idea of holding a massive event in one of the hottest nastiest driest places on the planet seems stupid on the face of it. Why would almost 40,000 people pay over $200 for a ticket and probably $1000-1500 total to suffer in this godforsaken place for a week or more? For years my common sense kept me away, just as it has safely helped me avoid backpacking in Afghanistan, running an ultra-marathon in Death Valley or eating bacon wrapped hot dogs from the vendor carts in Tijuana. Though my common sense seldom fails me, my friends often do and they conned me into wasting a week of my life and about $1500 to attend Burning Man 2006.

To be fair, my friends had been conned themselves by glowing reports of the “magic” of this overrated hippie love fest at the gates of Hell. “Burning Man changed my life, man” was the word. Hey, we all want to change our lives: stop smoking, lose weight, quit drinking, fall in love. The promoters of Burning Man promised all of this and more in their feel-good web accounts of dull people who now lead exciting lives, thanks to taking the Burning Man cure. These absurd claims had the hollow ring of cult indoctrination, but I was hooked. I wanted to drink the spiked kool-aid and search for magic in the nothingness of the Black Rock Desert.

View from space
View from space

Nothing could have prepared me for the stupidity of this event, except perhaps an honest account of how truly awful it was. I’ve been unable to find such an account, online or elsewhere. I offer my dissent to the pretense that is Burning Man. I hope that my eyewitness report will save potential burn victims a week of vacation and at least a grand in misspent cash.

Few communities want 40,000 yahoos drinking, drugging and fornicating in their backyard for a week. I know I don’t. As such, Burning Man is held in a dry ancient lakebed known as a “playa“ in a state where gambling and prostitution are legal, respectable businesses and 24 hour boozing is a protected right: God Bless godless Nevada. When the gold ran out and most of the Indians had been murdered, they turned to exploiting human weakness to earn their daily bread. Promotion of vice is the state’s stock and trade.

Whatever Burning Man supporters claim, know this, the event is a 24/7 bacchanal of booze, drugs, nudity, S&M, public sex, and bad art, all done in a scorching flat dry oasis of misery that reminded me of the surface of Mars. This drug orgy is translated by event promoters on the BM website as a “radical experiment in self-expression.” Wasn’t that Jeffery Dahmer’s excuse when asked about the body parts in his fridge?

Playa compound magnified
Playa compound magnified

From San Diego, the Black Rock Desert is exactly 900 miles on my trip odometer. I arrived with two friends, Tim and Alex, just past sunset on the first official day, Monday the 28th of August. As we descended onto the site, we could see the flat and vast playa, ringed by the Jackson Mountains and Black Rock Range. Stark and beautiful, yes, but thousands of cars and RVs, combined with the constant wind, had kicked up a massive storm of alkali dust. Dust masks are required gear at all times though many do not wear them. Even with a mask on, it is impossible not to inhale alkali dust at Burning Man.

We waited in the Will Call ticket line for 30 minutes in this storm. Most of the Burning Man staff are volunteers and seemed stoned and disorganized, though cheerful. Most Burning Man tickets go for $225 if you buy them a well in advance. As “the burn” approaches, the prices steadily ratchet upwards.

While we waited in line, a staff member announced that all the $325 tickets were sold out and that the price was now $350, snickering as he made the announcement. There was now little pretense that this was not a massive grift. The only service included in your $225-$350 admission is overflowing portapotties, often devoid of toilet paper. That’s it. In what universe is that not a grift?

Prior to entering the BM compound, all vehicles are searched: not for drugs, guns or explosives (bring as many of those as you want), but for stowaways trying to avoid the $250 ticket price. “Don’t try to grift a grifter” is the point here.

Finally reaching the front of the line, we were met by a greeter: “Welcome home!” she gushed. Good acid, I thought. She must have mistook us for black rock beetles, the only living thing that calls the playa home, surviving mostly on hippie skin and other organic matter blown by chance onto the playa.

Larry Harvey - King Rat
King Rat

After a two-hour traffic snarl at the gate, we arrived at our camp: exhausted, surly and coated with a fine layer of dangerous alkali dust. If the founder and King Rat of Burning Man, Larry Harvey, had been present we would have gladly taken turns shocking his balls with a car battery, Abu Ghraib-style. We were that pissed. Larry was likely in St. Bart’s spending our money, or perhaps in a fabulous underground lair built by enslaved hippies from previous burns, or maybe just laughing from his Lear jet above in his trademark white Stetson. The man seems a curious cross between P.T. Barnum and Jim Jones, conning the same moon-eyed Bay Area seekers whom Rev. Jim hypnotized so tragically.

The first full day at BM felt like the worst jet lag of my life. I was tired from the 900-mile trip, exhausted from the heat, the dust and the 4,000 ft altitude and thin air. The word “nausea” barely covers the full body ache you feel when “acclimating” to the Martian landscape and punishing heat of Burning Man. You can’t move, you can’t escape the dust or heat and you are surrounded by some of the most perverse and deviant people you will ever meet. Everywhere you look a “porno-copia” of sagging balls, flopping peckers, hairy asses, flabby breasts and other uninvited unattractive nakedness will strip away any remnant of goodwill you may feel towards your fellow burners as the caustic alkali dust strips away your exposed skin. What gives these naked perverts the right to expose their ugly fucked-out carcasses? If being forced to view hundreds of hairy ass cracks as you gag down breakfast sounds fun, Burning Man is for you.

Super Pope
Super Pope

In the mad heat of Burning Man at 2pm on Tuesday, parachutes opened 6,000 feet above and I imagined that Pope Benedict, former child Nazi, had jumped in, leading a brigade of storm trooping Cardinals and castrated choir boys, his Vatican banners streaming yellow smoke from his Luft-Commando parachute, to lecture these folks on the spiritual benefits of wearing clothes.

The Black Rock Playa is about as far as you can get from the Garden of Eden and still be on the planet. Adam and Eve were said to be naked and perfect as God made them. Most of the Black Rock nudies were much less so, and could have hung signs around their necks reading “Behold the Ravages of Time.” At least viewing their tanned and leathery hides reminded me to apply sunscreen.

Then I saw a naked fat man walking alone across the playa into the dead oblivion of the Jackson Mountains, a Barbie doll sticking out of his ass. Ok, I got dehydrated and imagined that one. Still, the official Burning Man web site would welcome Barbie-Ass Man since “There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event.” When in human history has “no rules” ever been a recipe for harmony or peace?

Dust Storm Approaches
Dust Storm Approaches

The overheated Burning Man playa is subject to dust storms that may appear as slow whirling tornadoes or a massive wall. Though you can often see them coming, escape is impossible and winds can top off at over 70 mph: hurricane force. Shade structures and scaffolding with steel frames can be pulled from the ground and may hurt or kill you.

There are thousands of temporary steel framed structures, secured loosely to the playa, that may go airborne without warning as dust devils assault Black Rock City. Note to future burners: You may be injured or killed at Burning Man. The climate and weather of the Black Rock Desert is wholly unsuited for an event of this size with thousands of steel framed shade structures.

Burning Man Wednesday to Friday was a cauldron of dust, heat and shabby monster trucks (some absurdly labeled as “art cars”) crammed dangerously with partiers blasting bad music from blown speakers. Every day the noise and number of yahoos increased as the weekend approached. The post-apocalyptic spirit of Mad Max and Beyond Thunderdome were all around: monster cars, noise, chaos and intimidation.

Imagine a shabby, somewhat dangerous crew of NASCAR fans, bikers and other bullies looking to inflict their lifestyle on your camp site, then circling for hours and hours all night for another round of megaphone ranting and stupidity. These are the people who tailgated us at 80mph in overloaded RVs hurtling recklessly down the infamous Donner Pass toward Reno. These are the people who complained when firearms were banned from Burning Man a few years ago. If you want to live in a trailer park with 40,000 people where insane drinking, drugging, public nudity and lawlessness are the norm, Burning Man is for you.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is the rowdy but hard-working crew of roughnecks that sets up and breaks down Black Rock City. They spend months on the playa in rough conditions with low pay to build the city’s infrastructure and return it to a pristine state, post-burn. During one rare moment of comic relief during BM 2006, the DPW paraded through the streets in their beat-down trucks, raiding each camp and demanding cold beer. We gladly surrendered our beer to this heat-crazed and desperate bunch. I have nothing but praise for them, as would anyone who prefers not to be tracked down and killed. “Fuck your day” was their motto: now it’s mine too.

Despite its pretensions as a wacky art project, Burning Man is not about art. Most of the art was terrible with garish acid-inspired images and other peeks into Hell. Any random collection of Toto and Yes album covers would contain better trippy art than all of Burning Man. A few of the “art cars” were inspired and brilliant, though most were just chicken-wire enclosed golf carts kicking up dust on the esplanade and trailing a few Christmas lights and dusty faux fur.


Burning Man is not for non-conformists. You must wear a Burning Man outfit or risk constant abuse. I did not wear any silly costumes at Burning Man, or dress in drag, or hang my ass in the breeze, nor did my friends. Surviving the heat was plenty: we had no spare energy for playing dress up. For this breech in burner protocol, weirdoes in furry suits chided us that “jeans are not a costume.” These “furries” dress in full fur suits, like comic characters in the Ice Capades or that big rat at Chucky Cheese, and like to do drugs and have sex in their suits while in character. If there is anything worse than a pervert, it’s a self-righteous druggie pervert, dressed as a chipmunk, offering unsolicited fashion tips. If you want catty advice on how to dress from a crowd of Rocky Horror Picture Show rejects, Burning Man is for you.

Despite pretensions of forming an “experimental community” the Burning Man demographic is whiter than the crowds at the Republican National Convention: Dick Cheney white and twice as mean. I saw less than a half-dozen black people all week and only a few Asians. This proves my theory that blacks and Asians have way more sense than whites. The lack of diversity and total indifference to this lack seem odd considering the pretensions of many Bay Area residents and other burners to racial and ethnic inclusion. There is nothing new or experimental about an all-white community.

I doubt that the white bullies who dominate Burning Man and define its aggressive personality make non-whites feel welcome or safe. If you are white and prefer to party with whites only, Burning Man is for you.

The climax of this neo-hippie hootenanny is the burning of a 40-foot wooden effigy, known as the Burning Man. Before his destruction, this blue neon lit figure is the center of attention in the middle of the Esplanade, the central plaza. I love fireworks and enjoy burning things so I had hoped that this final orgasm of flames and destruction would somehow mitigate the misery of my worthless trip.

The burning of the man is 90 minutes of fire dancers and neo-pagan ritual, all centered on a god-like central figure, with his arms raised in triumph towards a frenzied, expectant crowd, clearly united in some dark purpose. This finale of Burning Man is a kind of hippie Nuremberg Rally.

As the Burning Man burns, both his arms eventually fall to his side. Curiously, his left arm dropped first, leaving his right arm raised in a straight-armed Nazi salute. At that moment, a spontaneous cheer went up a thousand right arms were raised as one over the smoky playa. Heil hippie!

Despite my disdain for Burning Man, many claim that the event is “magic” and “life altering.” For some, this “magic” comes from their first Ecstasy, acid or mushroom trip. Powerful mind-altering drugs are consumed in massive quantities at Burning Man. People are very nostalgic about the first place they got really, really high. This is part of the affection many have for the event: nostalgia for a first high.

Though not officially a sex party, Venus rules Uranus at Burning Man. The young get laid because they are young and older horny guys can get laid using drugs and booze as a lure. Sometimes their prey will stumble into camp pre-drugged, always a bonus. For many creepy middle-aged guys, Burning Man is a week long frat party where they get their last real shot at nailing women half their age. Lone women are easy prey. The darkness, disguises, anonymous playa nicknames and extreme intoxication that occurs at Burning Man makes it a date rapist’s Disneyland. Of course, if sober and fully consensual sex is your thing, there are several approved swinger and sex-themed camps at Burning Man too.

If you did not get laid, high or loaded at Burning Man but still claim you liked it, then you may have been infected by their magic pods and are now a self-deluded supporter of the Burning Man cult. The cult mantra is that Burning Man is “magic.” I guess, but so is cocaine if you do enough of it. I imagine that the supernatural success of this event could not happened without some special help from the Devil himself, who I’m told holds the deed to Larry Harvey’s soul. If Hell is half as nasty as Black Rock City at noon, I’m going to start being good soon. If you love the Devil and the events he supports, Burning Man is for you.

If you read my review of Burning Man and assume I’m some hung-up religious prude, I can assure you this is not the case. My factual description of the event is accurate. I wrote this review because I could find nothing truly critical of Burning Man online. This is incredibly suspicious. Mother Teresa was considered a living saint yet there are many critical essays about her, but none on Burning Man? Many supporters of Burning Man defend the event as fervently as Tom Cruise defends Scientology. Anyone that is critical simply does not “get it.” My friend Tim responded in kind to a BM supporter when he replied “Is it possible I got it, but “it” actually sucks ass?”

Though a Burning Man “virgin”, I’ve been to a dozen weekend campouts with music and partying and have enjoyed each one immensely. None of these events cost more than $75 and often included meals. All were held in beautiful locations with plentiful water, usually in the mountains. No profits were collected and none of us were burned. Most of the participants were beyond friendly: downright open, affectionate and loving. This was not the case at Burning Man.

Note to hippies: Burning Man is not run for hippies and not run by hippies. It is run by thugs and bullies for the benefit of thugs and bullies. It is a festival for the Freudian Id, the sub-basement of the human psyche. Hermann Goring would have been in heaven here with the drugs, freaky sex, cool costumes and torch-lit rallies. If we all spent one more week in this dark utopia, I’m certain cannibalism and goose stepping would have been de rigueur, then mandatory.

Too many at Burning Man were not even civil or respectful of their fellow burners or themselves. In a sad way, the event reflects our current national temper, a country controlled by red-state yahoos, led by a reckless bully who refuses to change course despite the pile of bodies in his wake. Burn on W. Burn on.

*  *  *

We packed in darkness at 3am Sunday morning, the day of resurrection. The road was empty and I was exhausted and wanted to escape before anyone sobered up. Perhaps this was the magic of Burning Man: surviving an annual death cult rally and returning to the joys of hot showers, air conditioning and dust-free living: civilization never seemed more splendid or necessary.

I reminded my passengers that we had spent one week in a desert hell but no one had shot at us or tried to blow us apart with an IED. Servicemen in Iraq are deploying for a year or more and are in constant peril. Severely injured and maimed Marines have become a common sight in my favorite Oceanside, California poker room. Black Rock City is better than Baghdad, that’s for sure.

The wind was rising, carrying the scent of the last bonfires into the Calico Mountains. I murmured a prayer for everyone. What else could I do? The whole world is bleeding but you can only burn off so much bad karma in a week. The Buddha urges patience in these matters. All is passing, everyone we love, the rights we enjoyed before 9/11, basic civility and human decency, all gone now.

The America I was raised in is dead, replaced by a monstrous pretense of democracy. I drank a Red Bull and kept my eyes on the road. I could not stop crying.

As we headed for Reno across the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, my friends drifted to sleep as the muffled voices of Native American spirits reminded me to stay awake and the horizon glowed with the heartbreaking blue light of the desert before dawn.


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