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No Jojo Left Behind 

If you logged onto your Google Machine anytime during the past two weeks, chances are you witnessed the debut viral video of a floppy-haired Arcatan by the name of Jojo who, let's just say, has made some poor choices.

To us locals, this Jojo character feels as down-home familiar as a thick July fog or a mid-afternoon 5.7: He's the typecast zombiefied NoHum bohemian whose life is pretty much a never-ending plaza drum circle garnished with liberal bowls of weed, free-flowing booze and a small Dumpster's-worth of expired gas station burritos.

In other words, so far the young man is batting 1.000.

But Jah help me, when the documentary depicts Jojo standing before an entire plaza liquor store's selection of liquid relaxation, does he actually reach for a pack of Coors beer?

And when we bear witness to Jojo's ritual supermarket parking lot jam-down, is our hero actually rocking out to that abominably worn-out, d-bag loving musical genre —  featured in every blaming Volkswagen commercial since 2003 — known as Drum and Bass?

Things that cannot be unseen!

Look, there are young people out there making horrendous lifestyle decisions — it's part of growing up. But that should be Seattle and Portland's problem. So please, if you give two craps about Humboldt's cred, then join me in vowing that never again will we let this happen to another kid in our midst.

I think if we act quickly this culturally bankrupt, tragically outmoded young man can still be saved.

Let's begin with the music. Nothing too fancy at first — start him off with some early deadmau5. Hopefully, Jojo's impoverished musical tastes won't reject it. If after 10 minutes listening to deadmau5's seminal 4X4=12 Jojo is still flashing the peace sign and shouting, "Hella trippin' balls dude!" straight into the void of space above, then he's on the road to recovery. With any luck, we will be able to work him up to some mid-period Skrillex in time for his next one-man rave.

On the alcohol front — if he's not too far gone down the mega-brewery path to Hell — we can begin by administering a 22 oz. dosage of organic, craft IPA. In the bottle, mind you. With sufficient intake of fair trade, sustainably grown hops and small-batch malted barley, Jojo's beleaguered liver should begin to function like that of a respectable West Coast traveler.

And before he ingests another stale bite of Reser's bean-and-cheese, for god's sake let's get a kale salad with free range, farm-to-fork tofu into him.

Appalachia West?

Hope you're sitting down for this one: The ongoing viability of Humboldt County's economic well-being hinges pretty much exclusively on the legal status of a pungent, leafy bush of the genus cannabis.

That is the conclusion of the county of Humboldt's 'Five Year Financial Forecast,' a prospectus recently published by government bean-counters. Ominously, wonks portend a looming fiscal winter of "significant economic impacts" if voters decide to legalize the love drug by way of a probable 2016 statewide ballot measure.

Just a few years ago, these kinds of reports would be laughed out of the cubicle for failing to even acknowledge ganja's presence behind the Redwood Curtain. Nowadays, the report is practically printed on hemp paper while the timber industry is waved-off as a bygone relic.

On the bright side, Gov. Jerry Brown has come out as an unlikely prohibitionist.

Santa Rosa North

It's sad, really, the way so many local malcontents bemoan Eureka as "a second-rate Santa Rosa."

If only they could appreciate this town through the eyes of those of us who love it so.

Oh sure, the Bad News Bettys will remind you, "The Santa Rosa Mall has everything!"

Yeah? It may boast a Lands End. But last time I checked, the Santa Rosa mall shuttered its video game arcade.

Set foot into the Bayshore Mall, my friend, and behold our arcade, equipped with enough first-person-shooter simulation games to battle train a Colombian drug cartel. (For those of you keeping score at home, the Tilt arcade has arranged along its eastern wall a phalanx of no less than 10 e-guns — including a sweet sniper rifle with a scope, and a bitchin' orange handgun that unloads its clip on terrorists ... or aliens. I'm not quite sure.)

Then there are those belly-achers all too quick to remind you that Santa Rosa is home to that uber-hip avant-garde musician, Tom Waits.

Well, Sour Sally, you really need to get out more. Because the last time I sauntered through historic Old Town, I was verbally accosted by no fewer than a half-dozen mentally ill homeless dudes who look just like Tom Waits.

So what if the fellows drunkenly sprawled-out along Second Street can't play the stupid hurdy gurdy? Any one of those dudes would shank your porkpie hat-wearing, alternative troubadour for a farthing.

So you keep driving the Subaru down to L.A. North and throwing your money away on clothing other than Carhartt jeans and baggy Humboldt sweatshirts.

You'll find me down on the docks with my shopping cart and a brown paper bag of rotgut.

Gags, Maggie and the People of the State

The changing of the guard that accompanies the installment of a new district attorney has been known to reinvigorate a parlor game that asks whether the prosecutor is blowing the dust off any viable criminal files left conspicuously unadjudicated by his or her predecessor.

It's a weird position, that of district attorney: The official is expected, on the one hand, to act as an impartial steward of the law. But because the station is decided by popular vote, the corrupting influences of money, avarice and political skullduggery maintain their gravitational pull as to which defendants find themselves in the People's crosshairs. And — just as importantly — which ones don't.

Gags' decision to ring-up Big Timber and Big Oil — without laying a glove on Big Marijuana — was perhaps the single most influential local business decision of last quarter-century. When Gags came in, Pacific Lumber Co. had the unfortunate designation as the county's largest private employer — the poster child for a 150-year legacy of felling old growth redwoods that enchanting young women named "Butterfly" called home.

And the People made PL pay. Gallegos's old-school predecessor, Terry Farmer, wouldn't have sued Pacific Lumber if the company's log chipper had turned into a people chipper (which, in fact, it did on a couple of occasions).

Returning to that old parlor game, a whisper campaign is steadily gaining volume that prosecution may soon be in the cards for a notorious sacred cow: _______ _________. (Oh come on. You don't need my help filling in the blanks).

Ryan Hurley

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