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'Daddy, Why Are They Called Turkey Bags?' 

Well, son, you have to go back a spell, but time was, folks didn't gather around the widescreen this time of year to sink their teeth into a plate of fair trade Tofurkey.

Believe it or not, our primitive forebears actually used to eat the flesh of dead animals known as "turkeys," which were a type of "fowl." Barbaric, really, when you think about it — the ritual cannibalism inflicted by the early settlers upon our feathered brothers and sisters.

Anyway, getting back to the plastic bags that we farmers now use for their odor-masking qualities: Back in the early days, uncivilized brutes would stuff those bags with the cadavers of slaughtered birds, before brazenly stuffing the wrapped corpses into blazing-hot ovens — with all the insane bloodlust of a certain World War II dictatorship.

Back in those days — before our entire economy was taken over by the growers and trimmers who made the North Coast great — teams of men also went out on greenhouse gas-emitting boats, employing metal hooks to catch hoards of defenseless salmon. Ate those, too. The sickos.

Meanwhile, other marauders went out to commit mass murder on entire groves of perfectly innocent trees. As if that weren't psychotic enough, they then heated their homes with the burning tree carcasses.

Unfortunately, we have those early savages to blame for the fact that fish no longer swim in our rivers or streams. And due to the greed and shortsightedness of the loggers who raped this land, the mighty redwood and fir tree that once towered majestically overhead are now endangered species.

Look, I know you and your sister are starving for a plate of non-GMO quinoa and certified organic Tofurkey, followed by a delicious bowl of dairy-free, almond milk ice cream. But first you've gotta finish up your chores. It's beginning to get dark, and this farm doesn't run itself.

So I need you to get out there and make sure that all 18 water lines are sucking away in whatever's left of the creek. Remember, son, we may be in a drought, but that doesn't change the fact that each plant gets every last drop of the six gallons-per-day they require.

And last time I was down there, laying rodenticide, I noticed some invasive species getting a foothold near the sensimilla garden. Be sure to give each one of those nasty redwood startups a healthy squirt of Roundup.

If you hurry, you'll finish up your chores in time to watch the fourth quarter of the traditional Dallas Cowboys versus Washington Football Team game with me on the big screen. Been looking forward to this rivalry all year.

The widescreen doesn't run itself, either, son, so I topped-off the diesel generator for this very occasion.

GOP Hubris? Welcome to Ground Zero

For the first time in 141 years, the entire state of Arkansas went deep-red during this month's Congressional midterms.

But if you really want to see Red State arrogance run amok, look no further than Humboldt's own Second Congressional District.

To challenge attorney and Democratic incumbent Jared Huffman, GOP bosses rode such an intoxicating power-binge that they placed on the ballot a Redway grocery clerk by the name of Dale Mensing.

Mensing's qualifications amounted to little more than swiping UPC codes over a scanner and yet, despite no apparent history of his ever holding an elected office, an astounding 40,000 NorCal voters wanted the grocer measuring drapes in Huffman's office.

If nothing else, Mensing's years of experience stuffing other people's belongings into paper and plastic certified his credentials as a crack GOP bag-man.

All Gave Some, Some Gave ... a Dollar?

When it comes to supporting the brave men and women of the armed forces, some of you so-called citizens call it a day at paying taxes to Uncle Sam, or maybe displaying Old Glory from your front porch.

Then there's the Eureka City Council. In time to coincide with Veterans Day, the council pulled out all the stops to honor our fighting men and women with — I hope you're sitting down for this — reduced admission to the Sequoia Park Zoo.

Instead of forking over $4.75 like the rest of us to enter our world-renowned zoo, G.I. Joe and Jane will be required to part with only $3.75 of the compensation they earn ensuring our domestic liberties.

So, go ahead and hoist that American flag while enjoying your day off, and leave the real patriotism to our elected dignitaries.

The Ballad of the Outlaw Joshua Justice Hayes

The November election may have opened vast new frontiers to legalized marijuana, but the local greenshirts are working this prohibition thing 'til the bitter end.

Just ask inmate Joshua Justice Hayes, whose conviction for possession of a minuscule quantity of ganja was just upheld by the California Court of Appeal.

A jailbird MacGyver, Hayes was serving time for unspecified charges in downtown Eureka when he somehow managed to get his hands on a small but usable amount of weed, a cigarette lighter and an improvised rolling paper.

An inmate of lesser ambition would have discreetly gulped down the contraband nugget and hoped for the best, the jail guards none the wiser.

But Hayes, while resourceful, proved vulnerable to convention: Deputy John Craig stood watching nearby as Hayes visibly fashioned a crude joint using a page torn from a prison Bible and, with a Bic lighter at the ready, was about to embark on a righteous smoke sesh near the slammer basketball court. Then Craig's handcuffs came clamping down.

That the correctional officer confiscated Hayes' jailhouse joint probably isn't a surprise to anyone. But Hayes' subsequent charge and conviction for possessing 0.2 grams? That was the total weight of his "stash" — including the Bible page! Craig described the seized nug as eraser-sized.

Have our public servants no bigger fish to fry?

To be fair, once it landed on its docket, the appellate court had little choice in affirming the conviction: Stretching the jail's zero-tolerance policy just a little could, one imagines, set in motion an orange-clad Harold and Kumar sequel.

But in an era in which qualified patients may possess three, one-pound turkey bags per person — and in which untold thousands of domed, white growhouses dot the SoHum landscape with impunity — was justice really served on the outlaw Joshua Justice Hayes?

(Note: If Hayes' name sounds familiar, that's because he and a cohort were arrested last month — to some degree of local notoriety — on suspicion of using a U-Haul truck to ransack several Willits-area houses.)

—– Ryan Hurley

Ryan Hurley is a Eureka-based attorney. Know where the bodies are buried? Email Ryan: Follow him if you dare: @BuhneTribune.

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