I ‘n’ I birthday is Dec. 20th. It gets mashed into Christmas and that means traveling on the road. For most of my adult life that meant driving to Fort Benton Montana. Now it’s flying into Albuquerque, then driving to Sun City West, AZ.
So, by tradition, I ‘n’ I have spent the Thanksgiving week driving to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday a month early.
Here is my week
- Friday before Thanksgiving Week: annual physical and flu shot. Been on a strict regimen since Labor Day to try and hit my target weight and clear out any of the high fructose poisoning from last year. Fire off BP of 115 over 75 in the electric chair, I mean doctor’s office. (Pulse rate of 92! Yeah I hate going to the doctor.)
Test results and notes from Doc: Your tests results are normal/unremarkable. Just what you want to hear!
- Saturday before Thanksgiving Week: Celebrate fooling the Grim Reaper for another year with a massive breakfast and about 6 cups of coffee with my bredrin Nardo-Jan and our friend John, emeritus of the Salt Lake Tribune.
- Road trip on I-15: I usually have a theme music experience for the drive. One time it was Bob Marley chronological; Bob Dylan box sets, UFOria.
The year I ‘n’ I got deathly ill in Vegas it was Pink Floyd (Still can’t hear the song Fearless without thinking of how I ‘n’ I nearly died of a blood infection, driving back to Utah with BP of 65 over 45.)
This year’s theme: MUTANT DUB! What better way to grind out a journey than pumping bass and extra-terrestrial echo, screaming down I-15 at 80 MPH.
- Stop for gas in Cedar City and hit my first record shop: Groovacious
- First stop in Vegas: Lee’s Discount Liquors. It is exactly 420 miles from my Sugarhouse neighborhood of SLC to the Cheyenne exit in North Vegas. Bought a bottle of holiday Jim Beam bourbon for my room “cocktails to taste.”
- Second stop: Reef Dispensary: Since I ‘n’ I was staying in a non-smoking hotel, I needed a cartridge or two, (or nine), for my vape pen.
I don’t believe any of the Vapor Madness “fake news” about the dangers of vaping. That’s just a conspiracy theory by the nanny state working with the tobacco companies to keep people addicted to nicotine and not able to have any fun in life.
Give my ID at the counter: They pair me with a weed barista, or budtender, named Sienna. Hmmm. pair the grizzled middle aged man with a doe eyed, tattooed lovely millennial. of mixed race extraction.
What do I care? I’m on vacation. She can do a little up-selling. She complimented me on my Bob Marley cap. I left her a nice tip for the kindness and seven leaf advice.
I’m a Sativa, fruity flavored, vape pen guy. Usually get an Indica to knock back my insomnia. And some gummies for the movies I was gonna go see. Yes, I am an adult not a criminal!
- Check in to the Stratosphere on the Strip: I ‘n’ I have been doing this Vegas Excursion for 20 plus years now. My advice is stay at the grungier end of the Strip. It’s easier to get in and out of the hotel parking and Sahara is a main East/West corridor. Rooms at places like Circus Circus, the Strat (now called), and Palace Station are cheap.
Mainly in the room to sleep and shower. Ever since Vegas legalized the hippie lettuce, that city has become anti-Smoking.
At the Strat, the fee was $150. Thank you for letting me know. Did I ‘n’ I obey the rules? In Reggae there is a saying: If a fish could keep its mouth shut, it would never get caught!
- Sunday Night: Green Bay 8-2 vs. San Fran 9-1
Since no one is from Las Vegas, there is a bar for nearly every football team. The Green Bay bar is called the Draft House in North Las Vegas. Put on my throwback jersey and grab some micro brew and dinner with all the trimmings.
Worst. Part. Of my trip. Niners 32; Packers a pathetic 8.
- Monday: The Irishman
I’m an Assyrian-American, half (the good half I say!)*. I never cared to be anything else until I saw Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas. Then I wanted to be Sicilian for a while. My favorite movie, still to this day.
*quote from Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.
So I couldn’t wait to see Scorcese’s gathering of the greats for The Irishman. The story of the murder of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa.
Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino. The Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer of mob actors.
- Tuesday. The Apothecarium
I do like to gamble in Vegas. I’m a low stakes, video poker guy. I will usually play, two or three times during the week, up to $50 a session.
Sitting at the quarter machine, smoking/vaping is legal on the casino floor. And this is why the nanny state and authoritarians want to ban vaping. There is no way to tell if that vapor, not smoke, is tobacco or THC.
In Reggae there is a saying: Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies!
So there I am, vaping Strawberry Cough, and sipping on a free OJ and vodka, when I hit 4 aces on the Video Poker.
Walked away with about 60 bucks net! Found money must be spent.
So I ‘n’ I got on Weedmaps, and thought the Apothecarium would be a good place to re-stock
I ‘n’ I roll in, the place is packed. Peruse the menu…. “Robert, Kaya will see you now.” Are you kidding me? My budtender‘s name is Kaya? After the Bob Marley herbtune?
Kaya, another fetching mid 20’s Latina matched up with the greybeard stoner from out of state.
As she was putting together my order (Grapefruit disposable pen(s), THC chocolate cookies), I ‘n’ I asked her, “Are your parents Bob Marley fans?” She giggled.
I ‘n’ I asked her, “I bet you had half a dozen named Kaya in your class.” She admitted two other classmates. I ‘n’ I was my wearing my Smile Jamaica T shirt and mentioned I was a Reggae deejay., she was nice about that.
You don’t get that kind of friendly banter between client and vendor when you are buying Natty Lite at the Sev.
Another healthy tip goes in the jar.
- Thursday – Thanksgiving, 9AM
Everyone knows about Black Friday, but I ‘n’ I was celebrating Green Thursday with a stop at Planet 13 dispensary. I ‘n’ I am a big fan of the buy 2 get 1 type of sales.
Hilarious to watch cabs and Uber drop offs, one after another, at 9 AM ON A HOLIDAY MORNING!
I ‘n’ I am a connoisseur of T-shirts. Usually Reggae or UFO, Anunnaki. This was my T’giving attire:
Right at the door, two people complimented my Alien Claus apparel. “Robert? Rachel will see you now.” What, another female budtender catering to my THC needs? No way!
#3 who loved my Alien Astronaut apparel. I ‘n’ I told her I was gonna be cratedigging from about 10am to 8pm on Black Friday and needed some “spinach” for the stamina.
Banana Kush. I’m sure there is some potassium in there for I ‘n’ I. Thanks, Rachel. Another fiver in the tip jar. (I’m not nearly that generous at the coffee shop.) Chocolate drops for the movie I was about to see…
- Doctor Sleep – The sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining. Bought my ticket, the dread at the counter hailed up my Alien Elf shirt (#4). The girl selling me popcorn and soda liked it as well (#5). Disturbing scene in that movie that haunted me on my way back.
- Thanksgiving Dinner: Online at the buffet (#6) woman asked me where I bought my T Shirt. #7 Lady at the sales kiosk commented as well
Black Friday. Start with the breakfast of champions, and begin my cratedig. The two main major stores in Vegas are called Zia Records. There are two other small stores called Record City and 3-4 other boutique vinyl shops. Found nothing at 2 but some unique 12″ mix vinyl at the Henderson shop.
Chatted up the owner at Moondog Records, and apologized for not buying more. He had an excellent Reggae vinyl selection, but I had everything he was selling of value except one piece of vinyl. (Last year I dropped nearly $200 there.)
I ‘n’ I gonna rinse out what I purchased on Smile Jamaica 12/7
- Saturday: All good things must come to an end. Packed up and headed into what I was afraid could be nasty roads. Smooth sailing until a butane truck jack-knifed outside of Lehi. Stuck for an hour before I took the exit into town. Smart decision. Traffic didn’t move again until 7PM. 5 hours later.
So, being away from Smile Jamaica, here is a three hour Digital Dubplate for the weekly roots fix.
Smile Jamaica – Roots Reggae A-Z
0 – 30 min.
- African Head Charge – Enjoy Yourself; Sankofa (Bonjo I) ’97
- Burning Spear – Ethiopians Live It Out; Presenting (Studio One) ’73
- Culture – See Them a Come 12″; Two Sevens Clash (Deluxe Edition) (Shanachie) ’77
- Dub Pistols – Bad Card; Worshipping the Dollar (Sunday Best) 2012
- Easy Star All-Stars – Great Gig in the Sky; Dub Side of the Moon (Easy Star) 2003 Pink Floyd cover
- Fred Locks – Culturally (Tan Yah) ’95
- General Echo – Bathroom Sex; 12″ of Pleasure (Greensleeves) ’80
- Heavy Manners – Taking the Queen to Tea; Heavier Than Now (NoVo) ’95 Chicago group: herbtune w/ female vox
- Ini Kamoze – General; Mini LP (Taxi) ’84
- John Brown’s Body – Rainbow Chariot; Among them (Shanachie) ’99
- King Tubby – Mine Field; Roots of Dub (Clocktower) ’76
- Led Zeppelin – Dy’er Mak’er; Houses of the Holy (Atlantic) ’73
- Bob Marley & the Wailers – Lively Up Yourself; Live! (Tuff Gong) ’75
- Noiseshaper – Bushmaster; Rough Out There (Collision) 2005 Jah-strian dubbers
- Johnny Osbourne – Curly Locks Girl; Never Stop Fighting (Greensleeves) ’82
- Prince Buster feat. Bunny & Skitter – Chubby; Prince Buster Original Golden Oldies vol. 2 (Prince Buster) ’61 nyahbinghi
- Queen Majeeda – Earth Rightful Ruler; Conscious (Heartbeat) ’93 dub poet
- Rolling Stones – Luxury; Its’s Only Rock and Roll (Rolling Stone) ’74
- Sister Carol – Man to Man; Lyrically Potent (Heartbeat) ’96 Bob Marley’s Who the Cap Fit
- Tenor Saw – Lots of Signs + Dub; Fever (Blue Mountain) ’85
- UB40 – Tyler; Signing Off (Sound/DEP) ’80
- Vulcans – Journey into Space (Trojan) ’72
- Wailing Souls – Things and Time; Very Best Of (Greensleeves)
- X-O-Dus – English Black Boys; 12″ (Factory) ’80
- Yellowman – Strong Mi Strong; King Yellowman (Columbia) ’84
- Zion Train – Customs Check; Passage to Indica (Universal Egg) ’93 UK mutant dub w/ female vox
- 10 Foot Ganja Plant – 10 Foot Ganja Plant and Wee; Bushrock (ROIR) 2009 US
- 15 16 17 – Girls Imagination; Magic Touch (DEB) ’78 Smokey Robinson cover; 2 sisters and a cousin
- Benjamin Zephaniah – Palestine; Back to Roots (Acid Jazz) ’95 UK dub poet
- Yabby You – Fire, Fire; One Love, One Heart (Shanachie) ’79?
- Bob Marley – Exodus (Kindread Spirit Mix); CD Single (Tuff Gong) ’92 rmx
- Warrior Charge feat. Blu Miller – Vampires; No Foundation, No House (Beat) 2006 w/ female vox
- Version Xcursion feat. Katie Murph – Pushing Flowers; Version Xcursion (vx) 2005
- U Roy – Jah Son of Africa; Jah Son of Africa (Virgin Front Line) ’78
- Peter Tosh & Mick Jagger – Walk and Don’t Look Back; Mystic Man (EMI America) ’78
- Saint Germain – Dub Revolution II; Boulevard (F Communications) ’95 French mutant dub
- Rhythm & Sound feat. Jennifer Lara – Queen in My Empire; King in My Empire (Rhythm & Sound) 2003 mutant dub mix