Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was born Sept. 8, 1945 and died from alcohol abuse on March 8, 1973. His father had been a San Francisco radio DJ who played deep blues, soul and R&B, which greatly influenced his son. Ron had always had a wild streak, but was also known to be a really nice guy. He could definitely play harmonica and and sing the Blues better than most white kids. In fact, even growing up in the San Francisco Bay area he proved to be a true rebel, with an attitude and approach to the world that inspired many people (especially wanna-be hoods like me.) He thrived off of African-American culture – just like his contemporaries Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin did. In many ways, Pigpen is the forgotten Grateful Dead co-founder – just like Brian Jones became the forgotten founder of the Rolling Stones. Both were treated quite badly at the end by their respective band mates who were in their defense young and ambitious at the time.
Jerry Garcia was quoted saying that without Pigpen the band never would have made it. He was the the Dead’s front man because of his passionate voice and willingness to face the audience – while Garcia and Weir were still shy bout singing in public. He knew how to really work a crowd into frenzy. Like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin he avoided psychedelics but drank more than he should have. He did quit drinking and ate well for an extended time before dying of cirrhosis. In the case of the early live Dead shows (pre-1972) Pigpen acted as an anchor to his flying off into space band mates (particularly during the early “acid tests” where the band played a lot of covers that Pigpen liked to sing. He also was, according to Jerry, “The heart and soul of the Grateful Dead.” This article collects and edits damn-near everything that is currently on the Internet – including media stories, song lyrics, quotes from Jerry and friends, as well as my enhancements of the best pix of Pigpen on the web. Enjoy and tell your friends because Pigpen deserves the same recognition that have been paid to Jim and Janis, not to mention while considering the history of the Grateful Dead. Click Below to learn about his contributions, roots, lifestyle, and unfortunate early death.
Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman) was an average teen living in America between 1959 and 1963. This was right before so much started to change in 1964. Like other red-blooded American teenage boys of his time, Dobie thought about money, cars and girls. He wished he had more of all three which led to funny schemes that never seemed to work right. Dobie’s best friend was Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver), a beatnik who shuttered at the word “work.” They both questioned the authority of adults – particularly parents and teachers. They were also quite likeable and never meant to cause any real harm.
Like millions of others, I watched it every week between the ages of 8 to 12. In fact, my earliest role model was Maynard – played so well by the late Bob Denver who next starred on Gilligan’s Island. Their views on life shaped the attitudes and behaviors of many kids who grew to be hippies a few years later. This article includes just about everything there is to know about this wonderful comedy series. Included are show summaries and tributes – along with insights directly from Dobie (Dwayne) and Maynard (Bob). I have also located and crafted some cool pix for your enjoyment. CLICK to “Get Hip” to the Legacy and Lessons of Dobie and Maynard!
One of the first things FDR did when he became president in 1932 was to end the failed prohibition of alcohol. This single act freed up resources for needed public works programs and added lots of new tax revenue. That also dramatically improved public mood as promised by his 1932 campaign song “Happy Days are Here Again.” Another benefit was the dramatic drop in crime and fewer prisoners. We will see these and other major benefits once the wasteful weed war ends.
President Obama has the same chance to restore a sense of freedom and happiness in our country. One easy thing to do is end the unethical and ineffective war on medical marijuana. This will also improve how the rest of the world views the United States. Read all about what we all can do to persuade and pressure our new president to “Do the Right Thing” for millions of medical patients and recreational users across the country and around the world. The US is the only country standing in the way of global ganjah legalization.
In this column I present myself as a lifelong scholar of and advocate of farming and food. My graduate research during the 1980s focused on ways to encourage farmers to take better care of their soil and water resources. My professor job at NC State University focused on the social and environmental impacts of farming and food production. You can read all about that in the first part. Then read a new column I just wrote that ties together food, spirituality and the hippies. I also include some cool pix and quotes. In addition, read the review I wrote of the fine film “The Future of Food,” by Deborah Koons-Garcia.
To start with I invite you to read how my views on the subject of food biotechnology (a.k.a., GMOs) has changed over the past decade. These changes in attitudes about my profession ran along with some major transformations I have also made in my personal, political, and philosophical lives!! I have spent over 30 years studying and working to change the food production and distribution system to become more sustainable and successful. Americans do enjoy an unbelievably cheap and abundant food supply – that has been under serious threat since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s and Chemical Revolution of the 1950’s.
This article builds on my life-long connection to the land. I grew up in the country among farms and spent much of my professional life helping farmers deal with new technologies and public policies. Personally and professionally I have been an environmentalist for almost 40 years. Over that same time I have studied and learned from the native Americans who hold the land in high esteem. Through this I hope to once again to revive the hippie ideal and ideas about living on the land. Continue reading
It is now popular to look back to the sixties for inspiration and insight into how to change society for the better. Candidates are trying to capture the charisma of JFK and other leaders. However, most baby boomers are quick to distance themselves from the hippie counterculture. This social movement is more relevant for our young people than their parents want to admit. Young people see their parents and others as hypocrites for abandoning the hippie agenda for a better world. Continue reading
One of my favorite BLOGs are the tributes that I pay to musicians and others who have had an enormous influence on my life. This BLOG was originally posted on May 17, 2007 at my MySpace Blog. Hope you enjoy the lessons and love!! Continue reading