With apologies to Hunter S. Thompson and tip of the cap to Aquaboy for the blog title….
Smile Jamaica’s Cratedigging Covid Style diary (Fri. Nov. 20-Sat. Nov.28:
Every Thanksgiving I ‘n’ I do two things:
- Friday before the Holiday week, annual physical
- Saturday head to Las Vegas for a week of cratedigging. vaping and gambling. Pretty much in that order.
Let’s get those triglyceride counts out of the way before a week of hedonism.
2020 Pandemic version.
Virtual physical. WTF? My doc had technical problems and had to use my Iphone for the “exam”. I guess I check my own glands? What now, you say? Turn my head and cough?
Whatever, just get me a flu shot and take a pint of blood. I head over to the Redwood Clinic at 9am. In and out…..
The usually deserted parking lot was jammed full. Oh yeah. Covid. I get spritzed with sanitizer and have my temperature at the door (97.6). Queue up to the lab line. The place is packed. I’m waiting for my turn and look over to the Covid spot.
It was eerie. People waiting their turn sequestered in these wooden boxes. It looked like these infected wretches were sitting in upright coffins. People all looked miserable.
It certainly wasn’t helping my mood. I could just see the waiting room walls teeming with Covid. Like that scene out of The Shining where blood gushes out of the elevator.
Get me out of here! I ‘n’ I want to drop off a pint of red stuff and go have a massive breakfast, six cups of coffee and pack up and leave 4000 Covid victims a day (Utah) to only 2000 a day (Nevada.)
Vegas cancelled me in May. I ‘n’ I was bound to go in November. Eff the Covid. I’d rather dodge it on the road than wait for it to come get me down the chimney in SLC.
That’s why they call it gambling. I ‘n’ I was checking the Vegas paper headlines like a fiend waiting to see any response from Nevada’s Karen governor. Checking my Hotels.com app for casino shut down notices.
Saturday, Nov. 21:
Wake ‘n’ Bake. Check the news headlines. Check my Hotels.com app. Nothing. It’s on!
Had breakfast with my bredrin Chris at Left Fork Grill. Six more cups of coffee. Jump on I-15. Beautiful day to dodge Covid.
From my garage in the Sugarhood to the first dispensary shop in North Las Vegas is exactly 420 miles. I ‘n’ I usually like to listen to a box set on the road. Recently scored a complete Doors box at Graywhale in SLC. Break on through to the other side!
Loud tunes, dodging Covid at 80 MPH on a spectacular sunny Fall day, nuff caffeine fly down I-15. First stop on the cratedig: Groovacious Records. Cedar City, Utah.
First stop in Vegas. Reef Dispensary used a credit to buy a couple disposables for running around town. (Key Lime Pie!, Super Lemon Haze!). Pick up a bottle of bourbon at Lee’s Liquors. Head on over to Circus Circus.
I like Circus Circus. Nice rooms dirt cheap. It’s on the right end of the Strip so it’s easy to maneuver when the city fills up. Close to the freeways. A lot of record shops on Sahara.
Wow, walk right up to check in. On a Saturday afternoon? Fear of Covid keeping people home. I ‘n’ I have boarded and de-planed six times since Covid. But what I hadn’t experienced since March was riding in an elevator.
I ‘n’ I with the herd immunity of 22 successful live Smile Jamaica‘s with my Bob Marley mask. Two women get on the elevator and see me wedged into the corner. “Oh yeah, my mask. I hate wearing these things.” My response as I got off on the 15th floor: “We’ll be wearing masks til the end of time.”
Sunday, Nov. 22
I ‘n’ I Thanksgiving tradition is to watch my beloved Green Bay Packers play in a Green Bay bar. So my “pre game” was to hit a dispensary. What better place for a Green Bay fan than The Green Dispensary in Vegas.
20% new customer discount. (Strawberry Cough! Purple Punch!). Spun the wheel, won a $50 gift card. Nice. Won a grand in Mesquite in October. $50 in November too!
Vape pen well charged, New Subaru kinda cloudy, head on over to The Rum Runner bar to watch Green Bay play like they all had the Covid losing against the Colts.
This was probably the biggest risk of the trip. A Packer bar at six feet apart. That’s why they call it gambling.
Nevada Governor was lustily booed when he announced clampdown as opposed to lockdowns at halftime. 50% restaurants to 25% with mandated reservations for contact tracing. I ‘n ‘ I ordered another beer and kept watching football with my fellow diehards.
I ‘n’ I am staying until Circus Circus kicks me out.
Monday, Nov. 23rd
One of my musings when contemplating how things would be impacted by Covid Thanksgiving. Will they still have ice machines? (Yes!). Can I get popcorn at the movies? (Yes!).
Went into the Orleans casino. Surreptitiously vaped (Sour Apple!) while dropping two twenties on video poker. Always like to catch a matinee while in town. Saw the Last Vermeer. Me and two other people. Popcorn, soda, and Medical Milk Duds (10 mg of THC per Dud).
World War II art forgery law room drama. Guy Pearce was excellent. Nice way to wait for the Milk Duds to work its magic. After two months of eating like a wrestler trying to make weight class, fooling the Grim Reaper at the lab clinic and bobbing and weaving against the Covid, salty buttered popcorn was munchies heaven!
I don’t care. I ‘n’ I am vacationing during the worst pandemic in 100 years. That’s why they call it gambling!
Tuesday, Nov. 24th
First day of the Holiday Week restrictions in Nevada. Take out for lunch (In ‘n’ Out Burger), sat outside. Weather was ideal.
Killed some time at head shops. Always looking for Marley and Alien smoking apparatuses. Found a boss Marley grinder!
Hit the Nevada Dispensary. First time waiting on line during the trip. What do I ‘n’ I care? Buy two get one free new customer. (Wedding Cake!) (Fruity Pebblez!) Sour apple Chewz! Vacation time for I ‘n’ I. No watches, no zoom meetings. Took a drive over by the new Raiders stadium. Looking for hotels if Green Bay plays in Vegas….Someday with fans in the seats.
Wed. Nov. 25th
On the hunt for Bob Dylan’s specialty whiskey. Heaven’s Door. Mission accomplished!
Thursday Nov. 26th
Back to the Green to spend my $50 winnings. No buffets of course. But I ‘n’ I had made reservations ahead of time at Big Dog Brewery which is where I go to watch Green Bay play. Excellent Turkey and trimmings. Place was deserted. Covid restrictions really affected just how many people were in town. I wonder how much longer the service industry can absorb take out and delivery as opposed to in house and bar tab. I ‘n’ I double my usual 20% gratuity.
Friday Nov. 27 – Black Friday
From 10am til sundown. Hit all of Vegas record shops. One was curbside. (I ‘n’ I have a curbside record store, it’s called Amazon.) Another shop was not open. Come on! You gotta make the effort even during Covid. This is about the third year in a row I have found more Reggae vinyl than CDs.
Always nice when the shop owner remembers the Reggae guy from Utah with his stack of rare black wax singles and obscure LP’s. Always wear my Smile Jamaica tee on a dig.
I ‘n’ I gonna rinse out the haul fresh on Smile Jamaica.
Saturday, Nov. 28th
All good things must come to an end. Pack all my stuff. Drive through coffee and grind 420 miles back to home base; at 75 MPH just in case…
Considering how nip and tuck the whole excursion was from mid October til I ‘n ‘ left, I got to do a bout 90% of what I normally do in Vegas. Monday AM my dentist was carping about what a drag Covid Thanksgiving was under quarantine.
I ‘n’ I shrugged and said, I had a great week. Covid free to cavity free, let’s do it all over next November!
Smile Jamaica December Roots Digital Dubplate
- Akabu – Africans United; Akabu (ON U Sound) ’89 UK root dawta group
- Gladiators – See and Blind; Country Living (Heartbeat) ‘85
- Alpha Blondy – Kalachnikov Love; Jerusalem (Shanachie) ’86 Cote d’Ivoire
- Barrington Levy – Hypocrites; Time Capsule (RAS) ‘82
- Burning Spear – This Experience; People of the World (Blue Moon) ‘86
- Velvet Shadows – Babylon a Fall Down; Babylon a Fall Down (Trojan) ‘78
- UB40 – My Way of Thinking; More Reggae Music (Sound) ’85 comp. (30 min)
- Dillinger – Tickle Me; Answer Me Question (Third World) ‘78
- Creation Rebel/New Age Steppers – Final Frontier; Threat to Creation (Cherry Red/ON U Sound) ‘83
- Cultural Roots – Every Man Has the Right; Hell a Go Pop (Mango) ‘84
- Foundation – Blackman World; Flames (Mango) ‘88
- Gregory Isaacs & Carlene Davis – Feeling Irie; Private Beach Party (RAS) ‘85
- I Kong – Life’s Road; Africa Calling (Rohit) ‘79
- Lacksley Castell – Guiding Light; Princess Lady (Negus Roots) ’83 (60 min.)
- Pato Banton – King Step; Mad Professor Captures Pato Banton (Ariwa) ‘85
- Yellowman – Good Loving; Mister Yellowman (Shanachie) ‘82
- 4th Street Orchestra – My Sweet Lord (Oh Lawd); Scientific Higher Ranking Dub (EMI) ’78 George Harrison dub
- Hollie Cook – Stay Alive; Vessel of Love (Merge) 2018 UK roots dawta
- Horace Andy – Mr. Bassie; Mr. Bassie (Studio One) ‘75
- African Brothers – Mystery of Nature; Want Some Freedom (Easy Star) 70’s
- Toots & the Maytals – Sailing On; Funky Kingston (Mango) ’74 (90 min.)
- Hugh Mundell & Jah Bull – Blackman’s Foundation; Blackman’s Foundation (Shanachie) ‘83
- Abja – Good Sensimilla; Mahogany Road (I Grade) 2006
- Mystic Bowie & the Pallbearers – Voodoo Man; Rebirth (Zimbra) 2001
- Bob Marley & the Wailers – Sun Is Shining; 7” (Tuff Gong) ‘70
- Misty in Roots – See Them Ah Come; Live at the Counter Eurovision (Kaz) ‘79
- Sound Dimension – Man Pon Spot; Jamaica Soul Shake (Soul Jazz/Studio One) ‘70
- Don Carlos & Gold – In Pieces; Harvest Time (RAS) ’83 (2 hrs.)
- 15 16 17 – The Weather; Magic Touch (DEB) ’78 two sisters and cousin
- Jimmy Cliff – Who Feels It Knows It; Follow My Mind (MCA) ‘75
- Dubblestandart – Wadada Means Love; Return to Planet Egalica (Collision) 2002
- Ras Midas – Rain and Fire; Confirmation (JML) ‘79
- Steel Pulse – Tribute to the Martyrs; Tribute to the Martyrs (Mango) ’80 (2 and ½ hrs.)
- Dry & Heavy – Lost World; One Punch (Green Tea) ’98 Jah-pon
- Rita Marley – Who Is Your Neighbour; Harambe (Shanachie) ‘81
- 10 Foot Ganja Plant – Chanting Nyabinghi; Midnight Landing (ROIR) 2003
- Cedric ‘Im Brooks – Satta Massa Gana; From Mento to Reggae to Third World Music (Doctor Bird) ’73 Abyssinians cover
- Pablo Moses – Revolutionary Step; A Song (Mango) ‘80
- Sister Carol – Ram the Party; Jah Disciple (RAS) ‘89
- Bunny Wailer – This Train; Blackheart Man (Mango) ’76 Woody Guthrie cover