Monday, February 23, 2009

The Water Cure

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 10:37 AM

friends.The Water Cure: We're well used to miracle liquids of all sorts here in Humboldt County, but the LA TImes today gives us one that actually works for non-hippies, too. Tease: "Electrolyzed water cleans, degreases -- and treats athlete's foot. The solution is replacing toxic chemicals." This inspiring little story reminds one that there is such a thing as scientific
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CPUC Approves $8 Million to Help Bring Broadband to Unserved Areas

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

CPUC Approves $8 Million to Help Bring Broadband to Unserved Areas: Looks like Broadband Associates' plan to bring redundant and last-mile broadband to the North Coast along Highway 299 may be a go. Over the weekend, the California Public Utilities Commission approved $7.8 million in matching funds for the
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption)

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 10:08 PM

Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption): If you read last week's "Town Dandy" or the most recent Sims-Heraldo sparring match, then do yourself a favor and read this long, sad, frightening essay by Paul Starr from this week's New Republic. Same nut graf, but this is a far more thorough case (and made far more eloquently, too). Get ready,
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Late Night With KRFH Benefit Show

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Having had a day or so to decompress, I can now say that Wednesday night’s KRFH student radio benefit at Big Pete’s Pizza was a mixed success, with over 100 people in attendance for the four-group electronic/hip hop show featuring thelittlestillnotbigenough , (n1nth)cloud , DJ Egadz , and Restiform Bodies of premier Bay Area hip hop label Anticon Records.

Restiform Bodies tour poster

As 10 p.m. rolled around, eager students had solidly outnumbered lingering customers intent on seeing through the basketball game raging on three of four big screen TVs. After a victory for the team wearing yellow jerseys spurred an exodus of those uninterested in the evolving purpose of Big Pete’s, the space quickly transformed from pizza/beer/sports lounge to pizza/beer/student venue as local openers thelittlestillnotbigenough struck the first chords.

At first all was chaos. With a line out the door and near no room to breathe inside, it seemed impossible that another person could be allowed to enter, but anything is possible and enter they did. As drinks flowed from taps, down shirts and all over the floor, the desperate cries of pizza orders could barely be heard as employees fought to trump the thumping, multi-instrumental experimental set raging on stage that would set the standard for the remainder of the night.

After a 20 minute set came a 30 minute break, and it was 11 p.m. when the second act took the stage. Hailing from Las Vegas, the (n1nth)cloud trio were off to a bumpy start, greeting the audience as “Arcadia” and running afoul of technical difficulties only moments after the first track was launched, though profuse apologies and their near-electric enthusiasm quickly reclaimed the audience’s respect. Playing the first set of their slated month-long tour, their act concluded at a quarter to midnight, promising the highly-anticipated set by DJ Egadz in a timely manner.

With a preceding reputation as a polished battle DJ and turntablist, DJ Egadz was the doubtless leader of the night, as he prepared his midnight set amongst a careful mess of keyboards, mixers and wires with an MPC Beat Machine at its center. As the beats began, the crowd pressed in to get a closer look at the subtle expertise with which Egadz produced a captivating mix of melody and bass from a dizzying collection of buttons, keys and knobs. It looked a lot like this: DJ Egadz MPC Beat Video .

With Egadz driving the crowd until nearly 1 a.m., it seemed impossible that still another act was yet to come or that they could possibly measure up to what had come before them; they didn’t. Taking the stage at 1:15 a.m., nearly four hours after many had arrived and since left, Restiform Bodies struck up an overly-aggressive set to a severely diminished audience who could barely be encouraged to pump their fists, call back or really even dance. I myself had taken a seat at the back, idly pursuing the dregs of merchandise rather than slam around the beer-sloshed floor with the sleepy and bedraggled few that remained. Wrapping up around 2 a.m. Thursday morning, the stragglers were forced elsewhere as sleepy employees wielded the mops and trash cans of their custodial arts, returning a beer-soaked room to its proper purpose as a peaceful pizza parlor.

All in all, the station earned $70 after expenses, enough to buy either 1/2 of a new CD deck or 1/3 of a new studio microphone, and is approximately $20 less than was earned at the KRFH annual bake sale this semester. A good story, for sure, but a success? Of course.

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A Little Down Time

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 9:55 AM


Many apologies for this Web site's temporary dirt nap early this morning. As of about half an hour ago, all is well again.

Turns out the problem was not one of robot HUMBO's excesses of zeal, as I had feared. Rather, a disk drive had filled up beyond the brim, which triggered a whirling, Goldberg-esque cascade of pain that took down the whole system.

The database was borked, so we had to restore from last night's backup. I believe one user comment pertaining to St. Joseph Hospital was lost forever. Apologies, and please feel free to resubmit. Everything else should be A-OK.

Also: Good times on The Jefferson Exchange. Thanks for the invite, Keith!

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oscar Winners Leaked!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Oscar Winners Leaked!: You're tired of all those Oscar predictions, right? Well, here's the real deal -- leaked from the Academy! Yes, yes! You're wondering why those wrinkles in the paper, which so enhance the credibility of this document, don't seem to affect the type. The answer is: Oscar magic! Special
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Media Alert

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 4:18 PM

I'll be Keith Henty's guest on The Jefferson Exchange tomorrow morning a little after 8, talkin' Humboldt County economic blues. Catch it on JPR's Classics & News Service -- 91.5 FM around Humboldt Bay, or streaming live at

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A Few More Minutes of Fame

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 4:17 PM

lucky ones

Humboldt multimedia personality Duane Flatmo has had the fifteen minutes of fame promised by Andy Warhol, and he just got a few more. Duane (don't call him Dwayne) is famous locally as our most prominent muralist and as one of the stars of the Kinetic Sculpture Race . On the national stage he's parlayed a little music trick he came up with over a quarter century ago, playing " Malagueña " using an electric egg beater, into a series of appearances on major and semi-major television shows. Now he's taken the leap to the big screen (sort of). A clip of Flatmo (on TV) shows up in a movie called The Lucky Ones , which was recently released on DVD.

The story about the troubles facing Iraq War veterans has three battle-scarred soldiers, Colee (Rachel McAdams), T.K. (Michael Pena) and Cheever (Tim Robbins) back in the U.S.A. fighting PTSD on a road trip. About 15 minutes or so into the story, the trio goes into a bar where they find the customers glued to the TV screen watching America's Got Talent -- Flatmo is the "Crazy Caliber Talent" guest.

"What they use me for is to show how mundane America has become," says Flatmo of the clip.

(after the jump, Duane on YouTube and the Hand Mixer Malagueña Timeline )

Mundane or not, Duane's trick has put him in the national spotlight more than once. The artist supplied the following (with annotation added):

Hand Mixer Malagueña Timeline

1981 - First time: Open Mic Comedy night - Old Town Bar and Grill -with improv comedian Bobby Klesper.

I was trying to come with ideas for this comedy review we'd been doing. I'd seen some guy on TV playing "Flight of the Bumble Bee," just really fast. It was amazing to me that he could hit all the notes.
I thought to myself, what if I got an electric carving knife and hooked a bow on it. It would go really fast -- I could get an old violin and learn to play "Flight of the Bumble Bee."

Searching around in the kitchen drawers for a carving knife I came across an egg beater. I thought, what if I put picks on that? I tried that, but it tore up my strings. I ended up using pieces of cardboard strengthened with masking tape. It took some work but I got it to work.

1990 - Bayshore Mall - audition for America's Funniest People

at the mall

1991 - America's Funniest People

1992 - Late Night with David Letterman - the show also included Cokie Roberts, her first Letterman appearance.

"It's really strange when you get a call from something like The Letterman Show. "Can you be on a plane tomorrow?" They flew me to New York, picked me up in a Lincoln Towncar, brought me to the Omni Berkshire Hotel, where I met the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They were going to be on SNL and NBC put them up in the same hotel.

1992 - TV commercial for Valley Faire Amusement Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota

They saw me on Letterman. Every time I've done this they've paid me the basic one-day talent fee, about $550 bucks. If you're a union member you get more like $900. So, they flew me to Minneapolis for this commercial. It was like a week before the Kinetic Race — here I am freaking out about getting ready for that, but that was the time to do it. They bought me a new egg beater and an outfit they wanted me to wear. Valley Faire is this theme park. The commercial says, "There are amusements," and it shows me playing "Malagueña," then it says, "And there are amusement parks," and it shows all the roller coasters and so on. That one took 32 takes.

2004 - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - in Tom Green's " The Most Interesting Person in California " segment (other guests that night were Rod Stewart and Adam Sandler)


Side note:  This blogger was indirectly involved in getting Flatmo on that show. A Tonight Show scout called the Journal asking for advice on unusual Humboldt folks when they were preparing to come up. I threw out a few ideas: professional owl hooter, treesitter, Kinetic Sculpture Racer and supplied contact info. They ended up using a few of my ideas (Duane was their fave) and sent me an embroidered Tonight Show sweatshirt for my trouble.   

duane and Tom

2005 - Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge - with Little Richard as guest judge

2006 - America's Got Talent

duane and Regis

duane and david

2007 - I've Got a Secret

This was a remake of the show from the '50s. They had four comedians trying to guess what you do. I met the guy who has the world largest collection of Charlie's Angels memorabilia , a really sweet guy who had all these pillows with Farrah Fawcett and things like that. On that one I got an extra $100 because they couldn't guess what I did. Another guest was some guy who's the world champion card house builder . He builds these mansions and replicas of the Coliseum in Rome and the White House -- does it all with playing cards. He signed a deck of cards for me. Phillis Diller was on there too, with a celebrity secret. Her secret was that she posed for Playboy . She was kind of hot when she was younger.

2008 - Más Vale Tarde con Alex Camber t on Telemundo - opening act for show that included Carlos Santana

Carlos and Duane

2008 - The Lucky Ones motion picture - released on DVD 2009

It's weird how something like that goes. I was just having fun on this comedy night and this thing came up and I did it. You never realize where something like that is going to take you. I became part of America's freak show. Here it is 20-some-odd years later and it's still alive, and now it's in a motion picture.

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Silver Slams Drug War

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 3:40 PM


Former San Francisco Supervisor Carol Ruth Silver -- a part-time or one-time resident of Myers Flat, I'm not sure which -- has resigned from her job as Director of Prisoner Legal Services at the San Francisco County Sheriff's Office to protest the war on drugs.

"I find it difficult to discuss the financial or child custody problems of a prisoner, when I cannot look them in the eye and justify their being in jail," she writes in her resignation letter . "His or her incarceration is as a result of their own actions, but much more so as a result of a mistaken, unfair, and unjust set of laws which criminalize drugs in our society, based on the failed model of Prohibition of alcohol which we enacted and then repealed."

The letter -- which cites marijuana prosecutions in particular, of course -- is well worth a read. According to a press release, Silver will devote future time to working with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition .

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State Budget Tax Calculator

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 1:34 PM

State Budget Tax Calculator: The hits keep coming from the Sacto Bee. At the link: An interactive calculator that will estimate the impact of the new state budget on your
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