Tag Archives: Out & About

Chumley’s Speakeasy in NYC – currently a shell – to re-open … one of these days

My on the ground West Greenwich connection pointed out this article “Belly Up! Old Hemingway Haunt Chumley’s Could Reopen by Spring – City inches toward approving wrecked Village watering hole’s restoration” in NY Observer (Dec. 3rd 2007 edition which is in 4 days).

My attempt to drink at this noted literary haunt which oozes with counter-culture history from the underground railroad to prohibition to dog laws (damn health authorities), was thwarted by de-construction and i was met by a mass of scaffolding rather than a tasty pint. You can follow along on my ill-fated, personalized tour at: NYC Speakeasy Stroll with Bubble Bands and Falafel Bars – Choogle on #45.

Tales-ChumleysInterior2H.jpg
[photo Wally G The interior of Chumley’s, pre-collapse.]

So what’s going on? A conundrum betwixt landlord, leaseholders, building permits and neighbors and drinkers … here’s a snippet fromt he Observer article by Chris Shott,

Choogle on! in NYCNearly eight months after a brick wall collapsed, forcing famed Greenwich Village tavern Chumley’s to indefinitely lock up its notably unmarked entrance, the once illustrious literary haunt remains a mere shell of its former self.

Barely a shell, even; the old bar is beyond gutted.

“A gutted building implies that there are walls standing,” said Steve Shlopak, proud proprietor of the former Prohibition-era speakeasy turned fully liquor-licensed landmark turned much-lamented pile of rubble at 86 Bedford Street.

“There are only two walls that are still up,” Mr. Shlopak said. “The rest of the building is held up with construction scaffolding. There is no ceiling and there is no floor; it’s just a dirt hole.

“It’s almost as if you’re watching an old World War II film,” he added. “You know how soldiers would gather in the corner of a bombed-out farmhouse where just two walls are still up? That’s what we’ve got here.”

I took the liberty of commenting at the Observer’s remarkably decent site, thusly (pardon the redundancy):

As an enthusiast of tasty beer and quality literature, I was disappointed to find the scaffolding surrounding the building on a recent trip from Vancouver BC. I recorded a Choogle on! podcast while out and about in the village so all was not lost (i love falafel at 3AM). I’ll be watching for the reopen and hope to make another trip east from the idyllic left coast to imbibe a few pints in the legendary atmosphere.

DOA on DVD with Smash the State

D.O.A. Smash the State DVD release show Sept. 27th The Plaza Club, Vancouver, BC
World renowned punk band D.O.A. is back with the brand new DVD “Smash the State.” It will be released September 25th, 2007 on Joe Shithead’s Sudden Death Records.

This long awaited compilation is loaded with a ton of raw footage shot at four shows in the San Francisco/Bay Area and the infamous Canada Day Anarchist Picnic in Vancouver.

The DVD features D.O.A.’s original line up: Joe Shithead Keithley, Chuck Biscuits, Randy Rampage and Dave Gregg at their best. Smash the State includes 21 classic songs, interviews, newscasts, plus footage of the day anarcho punks took over Vancouver’s Stanley Park on July 1st, 1978.

  • Guest appearances by: Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Dirk Dirksen (Mabuhay Gardens/San Francisco punk guru), JB Shayne (legendary Vancouver DJ) and Zippy Pinhead (Los Popularos, The Dils)

Canada’s punk godfather Joe Shithead had this to say: “I really wanted people to see the original version of D.O.A. performing. You know, the completely raw band that went out and took on the world. So I gathered together some of the best footage I could find and came up with Smash the State. Most of the footage is taken from shows in San Francisco and the East Bay. This makes a lot of sense, as San Francisco became D.O.A.’s home away from home in the late seventies and into the eighties.

Our very first show outside of Vancouver was in S.F. I took a train, Biscuits and Rampage took a bus and Brad Kent hitch hiked. When we arrived we had to scramble around to find enough gear to play. But it was great, so from that point on, it just took a phone call like “Hey, can D.O.A. play a show with the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys next week?” Of course we fucking can! So we would hop in any old wrecked vehicle we could find, and headed down to the Bay area to help start a punk rock riot.

The last part of the DVD was our fifth show. It was an anarchist gathering in Vancouver‘s Stanley Park on Canada Day in 1978. It was billed as “Anti-Canada Day”. We didn’t have a permit, so the cops tried to stop D.O.A., The Subhumans and Private School from playing that day. Our pal Phil Smith managed to talk a local picnicking church group into lending us their park permit once the picnic was over. This of course infuriated the Vancouver Police, but they could not stop the show. This is documented on Smash the State, there’s even footage of Rampage giving a cop a kiss. Hey, cool shit, but I don’t know if the cop thought so.” – Joe Shithead


For a lot of people all over the world, D.O.A. was either their first exposure to punk rock, or one of their earliest memories of that blistering phenomenon. When you watch Smash the State you’ll understand why D.O.A. has influenced everyone from Green Day to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Henry Rollins to Jello Biafra, Rancid to Nirvana and NOFX to Bad Religion.

Barcelona Travel Tips for tokers and foodies

Some amigos are Barcelona-bound and since i’ve been to this fine city, i’ve assembled a few travel tips and resources for them. Ergo:

Stuff to See:
Picasso’s museum – a wide-ranging collection from youth paintings to pottery to blue period classics by the local boy made good housed in a classic manor house

Antonin Gaudi’s architecture – especially Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia – this master is less known in the west but will blow your mind with melting buildings and a bewildering rethinking of space and material

Goudi's Sagrada Familia Goudy's Parc Guell in Barcelona

Las Ramblas – this is *the* main strolling drag of the city, put on big sunglasses and stop a dozen times for a glass of wine here, tapas there, rent a chair to gaze a little while, take your time – every one else is …

Make sure to:

Eat lots of Gelato – better for ya then ice cream so eat more! a variety of flavors makes hard to choose especially when each is laden with fresh fruit

Tip the posers – along Las Ramblas you’ll see are elaborately-costumed street performers striking poses for tips – throw in your coin and get a brief performance and a chance for a photo

Mmmm ham – it seems in every cafe you’ll see ham aging, tied from ceilings – this marbled meat is served impossibly thin and tasty and makes a great picnic – This guy agrees

Tapas – the aforementioned ham along with hundreds of other small tasty snacks are the norm for eating – be sure to stop along the way for one or many of these small appetizer plates most are displayed in counter case for easy ordering

La Boqueria Market – this meandering indoor market displays the finest the region has to offer from fresh seafood to whole piglets – load up with bread, cheese, meat, olives and Mediterranean fruit for a vast movable feast

I haven’t even mentioned the street musicians in cobbled courtyards, the happening late night vibe, the cable car over the harbour, the fabulous beaches, Columbus statue, clubs and pubs galore, huge steaming paella feasts …

More Tourist Resources:
Dopefiend’s trip to Barcelona – Dopecast #81

Doepfiend in BarcelonaHe says: “In a special Dopecast partially live from the scenic surroundings of the Port Vell in Beautiful Barcelona, the Web’s Favourite Cannabis Commentator tells what makes Barcelona an ideal stoner location and re-lives some favourite memories of the city while smoking some very tasty Moroccan pollen.”

Bonus: Uncle Weed’s podcast with the Dopefiend and Max Freakout  – Choogle On #38

Tourcaster – Getting To Know BarcelonaGetting to Know Barcelona feed

National Geographic Walks of a Lifetime (.mp3)

“Take a ramble with Traveler on tree-lined Las Ramblas, a thoroughfare in Barcelona that actually incorporates five streets and comprises one of Europeâs most electric pedestrian foot fairs. Some say it’s the most famous street in Spain. For our money, it’s one of the world’s greatest promenades–with no intersections and no motor vehicles. Our walk can take you several hours–or all day–depending on how much you decide to sample the city’s world-class art, street performers, and tapas bars. And if you venture the route at night, well, you’ll probably see the sunrise before you get home.”

Rick Steves’ Travel in Europe podcast on Spanish travel and culture

You probably already know that the flamenco, Sunday evening bullfights, tapas, and sangria are some of the flavors of Spain. Now, as part of the European Union, Spain is a re-energized democracy that might also provide us examples for coping with the threats of terrorism.
Also, we’ll learn how the Spanish tradition of taking a midday nap — the siesta — has been helping Spaniards beat stress for centuries…and how its days may be numbered in modern, urban culture. Julio Astor of the Spanish Tourism Board joins Rick to explain the role of “the siesta.”

Thanks to my Mom on Flickr for Barcelona photos
Here’s an interesting Barcelona tag on Flickr in case you want fancier photos

Baseball, Birthdays, Fireworks, Transit, Grateful Dead, Creative Commons and Geek Fests

Dan resting on Ice Throne

Twas my brother Funboy’s birthday as well as Jerry Garcia‘s birthday, so i took a half-dayer to go see a Vancouver Canadians game at the tuned-up Nat Bailey stadium (and saw the curling rink under construction nearby).

jerry garcia stuff

The ballclub didn’t answer my request for free tix (since i am big shot sports podcaster and all) but the $8/ea. didn’t kill me. Beers $6 – choice of Granville Island Pale or Lager (Pale is better methinks).

The baseball game vs. Everett Aqua Sox featured sloppy defense, a grand slam, many runs, a big comeback and a loss to the homers in extra innings. The park is much improved with art, paint and moved in fences. The treed backdrop is a classic. The blogging Bollwits (Miss 604 and AudiHertz) were there too working on tans/burns while waiting for hockey season to start.

Miss 604 talked tenderly of their relations 99% of Champions over at Duane’r the drinkin’ codr’s blog (featuring crazy hyper-real HDR photos) and discourse on appropriate use under CC – Creative Commons, Flickr and You.

I’ll see them all at the upcoming Vancouver BAR Camp – which has something to do with drinking but not much to do about a bar per se. Unconference geekfest is what it is. Bring your own idea and $20 if you want a shirt (i don’t). I have a big idea i had best get writing about. – the Urban Vancouver TV Show – i have a smaller idea too … a “let’s write Wikipedia entries for one another’s companies/personalbrand” kinda powwow – signup! to participate in some documentary activity – while carefully avoiding conflict of interest.

Also coming up is Gnomedex (though my upcoming agenda is nothing like Krugger’s madcamp geek tour with Scales the international man of mysterious skills. Whenever i think of Gnomedex, (I’ll try not to tear up here, sniff, sniff) I think about the outstanding people i meet there (followed by the fine food and great partying), notably my amigos from Bryght who are *always* ready to brew up some activity no matter the topic as long as it touches on how tech effects the human social condition.

Though Gnomedex is gratefully not on Canada Day this year, there will be a strong Canadian vibe with Darren Barefoot and Derek K Miller making contributions. Bowen Island’s Boris always has something to say the boris wishes to speak + ace technologist Roland (who did an interview with Len Edgerly that is worth a listen) who was such a mighty force for citizen media goodness during the Canucks playoff run.

I am also eager to hear Rand Fishkin – an SEO wiz from Seattle – I follow that kinda search stuff somewhat for my day-job.

Another Bryght guy Richard Eriksson is posting up a nice variety of topics i care about (and his subtle sense of humor cuts through the cutesy-asian decor ;-)): podcasting, bc transit and asking people to do stuff for ya.

I commented on his recent list of podcasts he listens to (thankfully including the Canucks Outsider (hosted by Bryght) but seems I haven’t enticed him to subscribe to the Choogle on or Postcards from Gravelly Beach feeds yet (acquired taste i suppose).

Anyhow, I commented about Cory Doctorow (who i go on and on about him in The Totalitarian Urge on Now Public from his spiel at SFU) (he also spoke at Gnomedex 05)’s podcast, Craphound podcast. In particular Cory’s recent lecture at UC Irvine talk on copyright and trade policy episode is brilliant commentary – so good i listened twice while rolling on tranist. Decent audio quality too (many audience recordings are well intentioned but hardly listenable) – maybe Cory could bring an M-Audio Microtrack and a decent mic and non-bootleg his own lectures for the Craphound podcast?

cory doctorow at sfu vancouver Anyhow, here’s what i had to say about Cory on Richard’s Podcasts, In Various States of ‘Listened-to’ and ‘Unlistened-to’ (easier just to paste cause i am at work yo!):

I would add a hearty recommendation for Cory Doctorow’s Craphound podcast. His feed includes a weekly show with him catching up on his exploits and then reading from his or someone else’s book – currently Bruce Sterling’s critical tome “The Hacker Crackdown” plus bakes in his various interviews at colleges, universities, radioshows, writer groups, etc. He is wicked smart on a wide variety of topics from global economics to quantum physics.

If there is a Cory Doctorow fan club, i wouldn’t join it, i’d make my own using the creative commons fan club license and then give away memberships (which do not require providing names or other identifying info) and then send the non-records to space in a Buckley’s cold medicine powered time capsule.

Of course Cory talks much about Copyright/Creative commons and how to bridge that into a business model (again some KK talks about with his fashion photography). One underused example (which i brought up on Roland’s Dogma Radio a while ago) of community driven, non-fascist, conscious capitalism business model in the creative space is the aforementioned Grateful Dead. They were successful both artistically and financially to say the least.

They ran their own label (with varying degrees of success), promoted on tours and produced dozens of spin-offs with different bands (JGB, Ratdog, Mystery Box, Phil and Friends …) before and after Jerry’s demise. Most importantly, they allowed fans to record shows resulting in a comprehensive musical record of their long, strange trip. The tapes could be traded but not sold. The anti-Metallica.

jerry and lads (and barn)

Use of band photos got a bit more dubious as did non-licensed t-shirts, … at some venues, security thugs would take offense and seize merchandise for sale (or hassle the people using the “donation” excuse) but this wasn’t necessarily the view of the band, instead overzealous promoters etc. but that’s a different story …

Grateful Dead was the first Internet search i did when i got online in Guam. Jerry had just died and at the impromptu candlelight vigil, i met some guys who had all the low-down on how and where, why etc. … this info was hard to source in a distant rock … turned out they worked for the largest Micronesian newspaper and had the Internet. Whoa dude. The Internet.

bob and dave at starsand private beach club, guam, circa 1995 The local Guam ISP offered a “learn how to Internet” class and after learning about Trumpet Winsock and Gopher, I loaded up Dead.net over the 14.4kbps modems thousands away from any servers or backbone … then the power went out (brown tree snakes often curl up and gnaw at the lines resulting in a dead snake and spontaneous bar-b-ques to use up thawing meats).

Anyhow, I am now Uncle Weed at the all-new, wicked shiny and deluxe drupal-ized Dead.net.

Lots to do here: mark shows you attended for starters and explore the careful documentation of each setlist over a mighty history. Roll yer own account and hook up with people you actually have something in common with – collect photos of shows you were at, share ones you got, stoke out your show collection and indulge in reminiscing about veggie burritos, buses fulla hippie chicks and scarfing Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout and oranges after a 3-1/2 hours show in some state you’ve never been before (mentally and physically). Highest ratings indeed.

Grteful Dead at Shoreline Aug 16 1991
(Dead lot in Shoreline Amphitheatre – August 16, 1991 – think that’s my Earthship in the center)
Photo by

Finally, I started in on a lengthy spiel about local transit (i wanna love transit, i really do) inspired in part by the dialogue around Dave Olsen’s Tyee series about Free Transit and Darren Barefoot’s gutcheck reply and partly because my inefficient commute from North Van to the Cambie and Broadway conflagration.Rolling Transit Museum

In the meantime, here is a couple of comments i left at Paying for ‘Free’ Transit which will suffice – for the time being at least.

Part One:

The “other Dave Olson” here chiming in with another example of free transit.

Indeed my (almost doppleganger) Dave Olsen was wise to look outside the country for positive examples of transit in action which can be found in the oddest of places.

While free transit (and quality transit in general) is oft looked at as a leftie-liberal utopian dream and conservative are wont to roll eyes and think of transit as the transport of the destitute and lazy, the “most conservative” city in America (that I’ve found anyhow) rolls the free buses and manages to do it clean and happily. Really.

Logan, Utah – where the hair is big and the trucks are bigger – is a university town (Utah State has 20K+ students) with only 2 bars (both closed on Sundays), a gleaming Mormon temple, a row of box stores, malls and fast food that even Surrey would envy, almost no crime and a massive police force (i know first hand ;-)).

There is little/no ecological bent whatsoever – the kids still rev engines and cruise Main on Saturday night and recycling means eating leftover casserole. Yet these hard-sells bought into free transit and – from the parents to the drinkers – love it. Go there and ask.

Part Two

While I think free transit is a hard sell here, I would settle for a few improvements like clean buses (both exhaust and interior), customer-friendly drivers (I am talking to you on the 15!), and schedules posted at each stop (shelter would be nice too, it does rain here Virginia).

A little tinkering with technology would go a long way for the rider’s experience too – i.e. a website with some semblance of usability and SMS “next bus” service (some SFU students are doing this I believe). Realtime announcements at stops (like in London) would be nice too but I won’t hold my breath.

As for price, a roll back of fares which make it more affordable to ride than drive for starters. Say a loonie a ride. Now, if I wanna take the wife and boy downtown and back, I can roll transit for about $20 or drive for $3 of gas + pay to park and still come out ahead (I do roll transit anyhow despite being packed shoulder to shoulder with wet strangers whilst bounding across Lion’s Gate).

Also, as a monthly pass buyer, I do not understand the erstwhile availability limits (imagine my audacity trying to get a pass on July 2nd! Took 4 stops to find one) and the “discounted” faresavers are a joke too.

Finally (rant almost done – more on my blog) enough testing and thinking about it already – Get some new buses! We are often riding the same decaying sleds as we did in the 1980s when Vancouver was deemed North America’s best transit system. Well it ain’t now.

For the record, i grew up in Whalley (well before Skytrain) and the 316/312 was my escape pod from a crappy Jr. Secondary school to my beloved downtown. I ride transit 2-3 hours a day now and visited the rolling transit museum (geeky I know). I also own a car which i use for roadtrip – and the traditional bi-annual trip to Ikea of course.

I’ve traveled to 20+ countries and ride public conveyance most everywhere I go from Guam to Japan to Amsterdam and beyond. Translink needs help fast in order cease ghettoizing the humble and noble transit rider who should be celebrated not passed-by (like i was this morning while heading to the instersection of chaos of Cambie and Broadway … but that’s another rant, one about rider safety!).

This weekend will involve a visit to the Powell Street Festival celebrating Japanese Canadian culture plus the fireworks finale on Saturday which we’ll watch from the semi-secret spot. The Province has a (rare) good article about Vancouver’s Top Ten hikes, swims, paddles, skateparks etc. which is worth keeping handy in your ‘stuff to do’ stash.

This weekend is also Pride weekend in Vancouver so don’t be surprised at all the buttless chaps (not to be confused with the world naked bike ride last week). BTW, we cannabis legalization advocates could learn a lot about “coming out” from the queerfolk.

Finally, finally … a few shots from a quick trip to Dundarave to watch China’s go at the fireworks – the sightlines were as great for photos this time but China’s show was top notch as you’d likely expect.

Chinese Fireworks in Vancouver from Dundarave Chinese Fireworks in Vancouver from Dundarave Chinese Fireworks in Vancouver from Dundarave Chinese Fireworks in Vancouver from Dundarave

Canadian Fireworks in Vancouver

Night 2 of the 2007 Celebration of Light – this time Canada was a go and we viewed from the beach in Dundarave, a village area in West Vancouver on the North Shore.

Here are a few highlights with a full set on Flickr – Canada Fireworks in Vancouver.

Canadian Fireworks from Dundarave

Canadian Fireworks from Dundarave

Canadian Fireworks from Dundarave

Canadian Fireworks from Dundarave

Catholic Parade for John Paul 2 in Santiago de Compostella, Spain

Whether by divine decree or coincidence, we happened into the famed Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela the day before Pope John Paul II died.

I’m not a Catholic but wondered in the pageantry and the amazement of the pilgrims completing their walk on the Camino De Santiago.

During this time, I attended my first and only mass at the giant and well used Cathedral. The giant vats of incense swaying, bells ringing in discord, and this parade happening as we walked to mass.

The ladies had their best haridos and the dudes all walk chill and then throngs of priests in their finery hefting and shrine and beating the ground with their canes.

Also I ate a cracker and touched the bones of San Ignacio AKA Saint James. It is believed in the lore of some cultures that Santiago was the secret hiding place for Jesus Christ’s family or himself and his entourage, further, this is purported to be a strong hold of the Knights Templar who emerged during the Crusades but were thwarted during the various Inquisitions… except the one who continued the traditions in Santiago…

Anyhow, here’s a bit of a parade filmed in 2005 on a Sony Hi8 tape camera. Glad it survived to share.

Creative Commons – Remix and share with attribution

NYC Taxi Ride to JFK – video dim sum

While on the road for my day-job, I filmed some taxi rides around Manhattan and then out to JFK airport (one day after alleged bombing attempt). Take a look won’t ya.

Bags are packed, ready to go, taxi’s waiting…

I’m on the go these days NYC (featuring a insider, underground stroll through West Greenwich Village), San Jose (featuring a herbal medical stop California style) and now London UK where i am surrounding by folks yabbering in mobile phones (among other things) …

I reckon i am a bit annoyed and grumpy from not sleeping. I cut my finger on a trade show sign and overfilled my bathtub at an absurdly fancy hotel almost causing a major flood. Couldn’t sleep so took a long walk around grand buildings (i recognized the House of Parliament from the picture on HP sauce bottle) and considered other ways to benefit the world from such immense labours whilst sitting in a quiet St. James park where i found a massive weeping willow tree which completely disappeared the world momentarily.

Thought about Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead lyricist) writing about “Going to plant a weeping willow, On the bank’s green edge it will grow, grow, grow. Sing a lullaby beside the water, Lovers come and go, the river roll, roll, roll – Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell, Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul.” He wrote Brokedown Palace (as well as Ripple and To Lay me Down” right here in London while his amigos were out carousing.

House of Parliament in London

Came back to schmancy hotel with achy legs and still couldn’t sleep so ordered french onion soup and a Guinness from room service (insert pound sign here to denote that this was some damn expensive soup and drink) and watched car racing on the telly – all freaking night tossing and turning (do you know i am a finicky sleeper?) even after hand-fulls of tablets and moments of meditation. ugh – not complaining, just observing.

Of course my podcast-o-rator machine is usually in tow so much nonsensical observations and infused ramblings coming down the Choogle on pipe one of these days …the editing part sucks.

Missing my baby in North Van so much that i am singing John Denver songs in my head and because i am a shameless romantic, i am telling you this:

All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’
Its early morn
The taxis waitin’
Hes blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome
I could die (cry? sigh? try?)
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when Ill be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

{sigh}

White Poppies for Remembrance rolls on with HD Thoreau and Gord Downie + more tasty tunes

Thanks to some new found energy resultant from some very agressive acupuncture (fortified with electrical stimulation), I rallied out another (part 6) of the White Poppies peace and war series on Postcards from Gravelly Beach (my spoken word literature podcast – Feed – iTunes).  Really enjoying crafting these and still have at least 3 maybe 5 more to go in this series – then maybe move onto the trees and logging conundrums in Calyoquot sound series (featuring lots of Gary Snyder and other essays).  Anyhow, in case you are a non-violence advocate and literature enthusiast, check out my wee programme.

Awakening to the Dawn of Potential – Postcard #45

This one continues with me at the mostly empty Victory Park on the 3 day Remembrance Day weekend last November discussing human value and potential and perception with a poem by Gord Downie (hear Gord’s day job in “Hip Night in Vancouver – Choogle on #31) from “Coke Machine Glow” and two stirring excerpts from Henry David Thoreau’s classic “Walden” plus a “Declaration” from my original Letters from Russia project (read in a hospital room in Logan, Utah).  Salty and missing sea captian Chris Jacobsen sings “Providence” and Rock Plaza Central sing “Children be Joyful” and me and Miss Sena lay down some percussion-scape from Steamboat Island to jam along with the city bus brakes and heavy thoughts.

Rick Steves – Europhile and travel-activist kicking down the tolerance

I am a huge fan of travel guru and noted nice guy, Rick Steves. He started with great books (Europe Through the Back Door) after traveling around Europe working as a piano tuner. Now, he’s all over PBS TV and Radio and his radio shows are now podcasted. He is totally in me “hero file.” Not only did build a kind and gracious empire promoting travel, good times and friendship from Edmonds, WA but he is also an outspoken and noble endorser of cannabis use and tolerance and chillaxing in general. He is now a member of the Norml advisory board and his ‘regular American dorky dad’ persona is just what ‘regualr dorky Americans’ need to see to push the cannabis bogey man image out of their minds.

I could go on and on but i was eager to let you know that his podcasts are getting better and better and these two (along with one about Prague i listened to this morning) are great examples. Not just ‘which hotel to stay in’ but real global/local minded discourse on the thoughts and customs which make us humans rather intriguing. The contrast (fairly unintentional) between Netherland’s noble aloofness and the cubicle-bound American makes for great listening and his recounting of the Road to Santiago is a treat with behind the scenes thoughts about ‘why’ along with the ‘wheres and hows.’

Anyhow, here are a few links to smoke errr. digest:Rick on Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops

Decriminalization of Marijuana

Europe Through an Open Door (interview)

Among the groups that Steves, a Christian who’s active in the Lutheran Church, supports are Bread for the World, Greenpeace, and NORML, which advocates the decriminalization of marijuana. His trips to Holland, he says, have shown him there are more compassionate and sane policies for managing marijuana use and prostitution.

Rick on Social Activism

So subscribe to Rick’s podcast ye mateys and/or grab a couple of samples below.

Dutch Tolerance and The Overworked American Airdate: April 28, 2007

Rick chats with tour guide Ton Van Garderen from The Netherlands about how Amsterdam makes its “live and let live” libertine policies work andwhat’s behind the Dutch reputation for being “tolerant.”

We’llalso assess the state of the overworked American with author and documentary producer John DeGraff to see how we can reclaim some of the time we never seem to have enough of.

Additional Links:

John Degraff’s website: www.timeday.org

Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago in Spain, Tourism in Iran

Airdate: March 31, 2007

We learn about El Camino de Santiago de Compostela from a man who takes tourists on updated versions of this medieval pilgrimage route and catch up with a Lonely Planet Iran researcher who finds that, despite the country’s heavy-handed rulers, the Iranian people are some of the most welcoming you’ll find anywhere. Plus we have a new round of listeners’ travel haiku to share.

Additional Links:

Note: I am fascinated by the Camino de Santiago where pilgrims walk for thousands of miles to get near the (alleged) bones of St. James as we learned arriving their the day the Pope JP2 died. The next day were impromptu parades and masses at the giant cathedral (my first Catholic mass too). I did a wee bit of writing a few painting too – maybe i’ll finish them sometime – here’s a photo in the meantime.

Rick Steves Europe: Travel with Rick Steves: Program Archives