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 420miles 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
I ‘n’ I was fighting glaucoma with my bredrins Mike and Aqua Boy. I was laying out my Presidential strategy for taking down The Cheetolini in 2020:
With the JFK coup anniversary looming: Was it Bin Laden on the Grassy Knoll? Discuss!
But then the discussion took a turn. When baseball season is over, I ‘n’ I turn to a new time suck: Ancient Aliens on the History Channel.
I was talking about the documentary’s 2 hour tribute to Erich von Daniken, the Father of Ancient Astronaut Theory. His book, Chariots of the Gods, lit the fuse for a whole generation seeking a connection between ancient astronauts mis-labelled as Sky Gods by mankind.
I took to the alternative cosmology of Ancient Astronaut Theory late in life. But I should have been into it for 40 years….
I grew up in a small farming community in North Central Montana called Fort Benton. Beautiful little river city. We had a theater and a drive in. It was a short bike ride from my house to go see a movie to get out of the sun.
It was sometime, summer 1975. I was ten years old. The movie was Young Frankenstein: Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman and Teri Garr. But, in the lobby was something that really intrigued me: a whole display of cut outs, movie stills and placards describing Chariots of the Gods. The movie.
One of the stills described a picture in Ancient Assyria; my mother’s homeland in the Fertile Crescent. I was totally enthralled and could not wait to see it in two weeks!
The following week, the movie theater went out of business and became a farm implement manufacturing business. Cursed!
Wheel it forward to last weekend. I was regaling my mates, between bongrips and bourbon, of the story von Daniken described from the Bible: Ezekiel and the crystal ship. A wheel within a wheel.
Ezekiel 1:14-28. Ancient Astronaut Theory
14And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
17 When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.
18 As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
That, my friends, is the description of nothing other than a space ship which travels by gyration, the wheel within a wheel!
<Ezekiel’s crystal ship>
My bredrin Aquaboy, who reads dinosaur media like the New York Times and The Nation magazine, was not having it. He was giving me the red eyed hairy eyeball.
So I’n’ I zone in on the kill shot: The Ancient Aliens episode devoted to Chariots of the Gods’ legacy talked about one of the original NASA scientists who thought von Daniken was a crank and set out to use physics to debunk the wheel within a wheel.
His name was Sidney Blumrich…
I ‘n’ I, who does not read the New York Times nor the Nation, never got to finish…Aquaboy was full on scoffing. I ‘n’ I held up my hand and calmly said,
“Your perception is not my reality.”
They’re here. They’ve always been here. And they’re coming! Scoffing won’t save you!
Bobbylon’s Top Ten Biblical Alien Encounters
Moses and the burning bush – spaceship
Ezekeiel and the Crystal Ship: the wheel within a wheel aka a gyroscopic spaceship
Stairway to Heaven – walkway to a spaceship
Enoch – Noah’s grandfather who walked with God and then was not
Lot’s wife – turned into a pillar of smoke, not salt after Armageddon was destroyed in a nuclear attack
The New Jerusalem – Borg cube massive space ship
The Nephilim – Biblical giants describing the Anunnaki who created mankind and mated with their women
Noah’s Flood (1) – Utnapishtim in a tessaract spaceship to wait for the flood waters to recede (Sumerian origin story)
Noah’s Flood (2) – Ziusudra in a submarine to wait for the flood waters to recede (Sumerian origin story)
Jacob’s Ladder – spaceship walkway (see #3)
How about some examples from Islam and Hinduism:
The Prophet Muhammad’s midnight journey to Heaven on the back of a winged horse Al-Buraq. Buraq means “lightning” in Arabic (one man space capsule)
Descriptions of flaming minarets in the sky (missiles)
Hindu Vimana’s: space chariots fighting battles
Shiva’s Trident – missile
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Jah-vember 16, 2019 Annotated Playlist: 73 sec.
Mikey Dread – Voice of Jah; Dread at the Controls (Trojan) ’79 UK vinyl
Aggrovators – Dread Locks in Jamaica (Attack) ’76 JA vinyl dub album of the hour
Chachi feat. Sister Carol – Natty Dread; (Kariang) ’99 Ethiopian dawta cover Bob Marley
Sister Carol – Natty Live Up; Lyrically Potent (Heartbeat) ’96 Bob Marley’s Natty Dread
Jah Thomas – Tribute to the Reggae King; In Disco Style – Entertainment (Midnight Rock) ’81 Bob Marley tribute
Sublime – Legalize It; Hempilation (Capricorn) ’96 Peter Tosh cover; 4:20 Cannabis Service Announcement
Junior Murvin – Bad Weed; 12” (Upsetters) ’78 UK – Lee “Scratch” Perry prod’n; herbtune over Police & Thieves
Zema – Joy in the Morning; Black Sleep (Melchizedek) 2003 Culver City, CA dawta
Linton Kwesi Johnson – Sonny’s Lettah; a capella live (LKJ)
<UK sus laws against “vagrancy”; 28 sec.>
The Eagles – Country Living; Reggae Classics (DCC) ‘73
Tapper Zukie – Black Man 12”; I Can Hear the Children Singing (Blood & Fire) ’78 dj to Prince Alla
Barry Brown – Release the Chains; 10” (Rockers) ’80 UK; Augustus Pablo prod’n
Set 3: Best of Smile Jamaica 30 Years
Martha Velez – Get Up Stand Up; Escape From Babylon (Sire) ’76; Wailers cover
Mighty Diamonds – Gnashing of Teeth; I Need a Roof (Hitbound) ‘76
In 1920, Jamaican pan-African Nationalist Marcus Garvey issued a prophecy:
“Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand”. That was the signal to take the Black Star Liner* out of Babylon (the West, Jamaica) to return to Africa.
*(The White Starliner was the passenger ship company of Titanic notoriety.)
To dispossessed black Jamaicans living in the slums of Kingston, the alienation from a white God/Jesus and a longing to return to the glory of the Mother Continent was a catalyst moment in the development of what became Roots Reggae.
Slavery, poverty and the stigma of human bondage weighed heavy on the frustrated masses left behind after 19th century emancipation.
Four hundred years, and it’s the same, the same philosophy I’ve said it’s four hundred years – look, how long And, the people, they still can’t see – Peter Tosh
Nov. 2, 1930 Garvey’s prophesy came to pass.
Ras Tafari Makonnen was a reforming governor serving the first African Empress, Zewditu. The East African nation of Ethiopia was trying to break free of the crushing poverty of a feudal society where dirt poor tenant farmers served a small, exploitative rentier class.
How to usher the nation, free from European colonial rule, into the modern era of science, medicine, education, trade.
Empress Zewditu had no surviving children. Ras Tafari* had a strong pedigree as a potential successor:
*Ras is the equivalent of Prince or Duke; Tafari is an honorific – “one who is respected”. To Rastas, those who worship Selassie as the living God, Ras Tafari means “Head Creator.”
Descended from the Solomonic lineage of Makeda – the Queen of Sheba who married the Israelite King Solomon
His maternal grandfather was the grandson of a previous Ethiopian King
Ras Tafari‘s father was a general in the Ethiopian army who helped defeat the Italian invaders in 1896
Royal reactionaries tried to stop Ras Tafari from competing with Zewditu. She had proclaimed him King (Negus) but Ras Tafari declined the offer to leave the capital of Addis Ababa for one of the outer provinces, which was tradition for the heir apparent.
Near the end of the Empress’s life, she tried to have him deposed as regent – successor. These coup attempts to stop him failed.
Zewditu’s husband raised an army against Ras Tafari but he was killed fighting provincial troops loyal to the Negus/Ras . In early 1930 the Empress died from the “shock” of her husband’s defeat. (But many think she was poisoned.)
Ras Tafari proved the victor and consolidated his power. He went from King (Negus) to Emperor (Negusa Negast – King of Kings.)
Ras Tafari Makonnen became forever known as Haile Selassie I, first of his name – in Game of Thrones parlance. Power of the Trinity
Nov. 2, 1930 a royal coronation ceremony was held in Addis Ababa. It was a grand affair with many European, Middle Eastern and Asian dignitaries in attendance. I ‘n’ I have included the news reel footage below the text.
Jamaicans saw this five minute film clip played before the feature at the local Kingston movie theaters. Garvey’s prophecy writ large.
That event eventually sparked the rise of Rastafari worship in Jamaica expressed through the “gospel” music of the Wailers, Burning Spear, Culture and hundreds of others.
<Selassie’s coronation that rules the nation! 1 min. 22 sec.>
I ‘n’ I consider myself a Rastafari empathizer. Platonic love songs to a man who started out with noble ideas and eventually came to an ignoble demise: deposed by Communist revolutionaries in 1974.
Shortly thereafter, the captive Negusa Negast, was strangled in his bed and buried beneath the latrines in the Royal Palace.
In an ironic and tragic twist of events, the reforming governor Ras Tafari Makonnen was let down by his corrupt provincial governors as Emperor Selassie I.
The governors in the provinces reported that there were record harvests when in fact there was a horrible famine killing tens of thousands.
But in the immortal words of Bob Marley – Jah Live:
Fools say in their hearts Rasta, your god is dead But I and I know, Jah Jah Dread it shall be dreaded and dread
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Jah-vember 2, 2019 Annotated Playlist: 50 sec.
African Princess – Jah Children Cry; Hits From the House of Shaka (Jah Shaka) ’85 UK vinyl
So enjoy this 3 hours of All killer….literally Jah-loween tunes: From driving around Kingston in a coffin to “roll a lickle spliff wif di papyrus”. Horror bytes, movie trailers and the monster menagerie!
From your Undead station that rules the nation!
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: Jah-tober 26, 2019: Halloween Showcase; 2 min. 14 sec.
Ini Kamoze – Hole in the Pumpkin; Shocking Out (RAS) ’87
Scientist – Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires (Greensleeves) ’81 dub