Say It Ain’t So, Willie!

When White Sox outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson admitted to cheating in the 1919 World Series, a broken-hearted Chicago Daily News reporter begged him: “Say it ain’t so, Joe …”

Recently, a multitude of country music (and marijuana) fans experienced a similar “say it ain’t so” moment when Willie Nelson announced that he would no longer be smoking weed.  The shocking news quickly spread across the pot-smoking community, leaving many, well, needing a toke.  

The news was especially disheartening to Snoop Dogg who, in a recent interview, said Willie should be on the “Mount Rushmore” of pot smokers, pointing out that Willie was the only person to ever have out smoked him.

Willie’s unexpected announcement caused concern in several other areas as well:

The Stock Market  Knowing how Wall Street trembled when China stopped buying US soy beans, investors worried that the value of their cannabis stock would tumble when news of Willie’s abstinence went public.  As it turns out, the value of marijuana shares had already gone “up in smoke” over a year ago, so Willie’s newfound temperance had little impact.

Property Values in Sierra Blanca, Texas   With not much else to offer, this small west Texas Town is widely known as the “Border Patrol Checkpoint to the Stars.” Located on I-10 about 20 miles from the Mexican border and 85 miles east of El Paso, officers here have arrested a number of celebrities for drug possession … Fiona Apple … Armie Hammer … Nelly … Snoop … and, of course, Willie.  So what will happen to this little town if these famous people stop carrying drugs?  Will this place continue to exist?

Not to worry … Border Patrol agents in Sierra Blanca scan approximately 17,000 vehicles each day, with about 2,500 per year resulting in arrests.  In addition, some 10,000 pounds of drugs are seized each month at this very efficient checkpoint.  In one case, the search of a tour bus yielded more than 10 pounds of marijuana, 36 baggies of heroin and a loaded .45 handgun … all of which beg the question … what, exactly, was the owner of these items thinking?  We know marijuana causes one to be forgetful … was that what happened?  Did he forget that he had those items with him?  And those drug-sniffing dogs … did he think they would be off duty when he got to the checkpoint?

Fun fact: When Willie Nelson was arrested for possession of marijuana in Sierra Blanca, the county prosecutor gave him a choice: pay a fine of $3,000.00 or sing his famous song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”  Willie chose to pay the fine.

Though some found it difficult to believe that a devout marijuana advocate like Willie had stopped smoking, he pointed out that he had simply decided to give his 86-year-old lungs a break.  And, with cannabis now available in so many forms, he insists he has not lost his affection for the wonders of THC.  For example, a quick review of the choices within his own “Willie’s Reserve” brand show a range of choices to include infused chocolate and fruit chews, along with an assortment of flowers and bud.

At a certain age, people often sit down with family to discuss and make arrangements for the inevitable end of one’s life.  What kind of service shall we have?  Do we want a funeral and burial?  Is cremation the way we want to go?

Willie Nelson, it seems, has things all mapped out.  Given his many years of inhaling marijuana smoke … and with a generous nod to his fans … he used the title of one of his many hits to announce what he wants done with his remains:

Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die

O Hippie, Where Art Thou?

“Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over …”  

Although Willie Nelson wrote and sang those memorable words in 1966, they ring especially true today.  The Woodstock 50th Anniversary hoopla has lurched to an end, festival organizers are aghast at the financial hit they endured,  and the Museum at Bethel Woods is operating on its reduced winter schedule.  In other words, calm has returned to that bucolic patch of hallowed ground in upstate Sullivan County, New York.

So … now what?  Given the age of most Woodstock “veterans,” this recent shindig likely marked the “last hurrah” for many who would like nothing more than to continue reliving those magical days in August of 1969.  But these worthies face an inescapable truth … unless marijuana, hash and LSD have some previously unreported anti-aging properties, none of those sprightly flower children who migrated to the original gathering at Yasgur’s farm will be around for the centennial.

On the other hand, being an “elder” of the original Woodstock clan provides one with a certain degree of panache.  As such, members of that august-but-diminishing group are, in effect, “keepers of the flame” of hippiedom, with a duty to educate and guide those who follow.  At the Baba Yaga Home for Unkempt Hippies, for example, aspirants can assume the lotus position while absorbing truths from such luminaries as Moonblossom and Zephyr.

Others, however, have decided that enough is enough.  For them, the time has come to trade in the frayed “Make Love Not War” t-shirt in favor of one with a slogan more suitable to crabby and disaffected senior citizens:

We are old … we are tired … get off our lawn.

The Man in the Meadow

Well, that last half century certainly went by quickly.

The relentless hoopla about the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock seemed to reach a crescendo over the past couple of months, with Michael Lang’s ill-fated venture falling by the wayside, and a number of communities around the world mounting their own mini-celebrations of that iconic happening.

As “veterans” of the original event, we could not resist the pull to take one more journey back to that bucolic place known as Bethel, New York.  And though we originally planned to be there on the exact dates of the 50th, we decided to visit earlier in hopes of avoiding crowds and traffic.  

This proved to be an excellent choice for, when we made our way to Woodstock in early August, we were among the few people on hand that day.  Consequently, we could tour the lovely Museum at Bethel Woods at our leisure, and roam the grounds in absolute tranquility.

Leading up to our visit, I participated in several enjoyable and interactive talks about my book “Dear Hippie … We Met at Woodstock.”  Across these sessions, I met a number of folks who were at the 1969 festival … one even brought a photo of herself as proof.  Another had a (framed) copy of the original Woodstock program, and a third proved to be a helicopter pilot who used his chopper to assist with security efforts.

It was, of course, good to meet folks who were there in 1969, but most in attendance at my talks had never been to Woodstock.  Many were too young; others missed it because “… mom wouldn’t let me go”; and a number had simply read about the festival or watched it on television.  All, though, expressed amazement that an event of that magnitude could have taken place without ending in catastrophe.

Having worked at the Woodstock festival as a police officer, I share their sense of amazement.  And, considering the remarkable confluence of events leading up to that gathering, it is hard to believe that it occurred at all.  Yes, the few police on hand did their jobs well but, in my view, the credit for keeping things calm must go to the assembled masses who, while enduring three rain-soaked days without adequate food, water and shelter, did not allow the event to descend into chaos.

Many things have changed in the half century since the original gathering, but there remains a special aura surrounding that obscure bend in the road in upstate New York. It is here that a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur lent 600 acres of his dairy farm for the 1969 concert venue, and the rest is history.  That plot of land is now registered as both a state and a national historic site. 

At the end of our visit, we stopped at the monument overlooking the serene and well-tended meadow where, fifty years ago, some half a million people gathered for a weekend of peace, love and music.  Standing there, I noticed far off in the distance … in the meadow… near the location of the original stage … a man standing alone … playing a guitar.

I have no idea who that solitary musician was or where he came from.  And though I had driven 1,600 miles to reach Bethel, I have a feeling that he and I each felt drawn to that very special place by something that neither of us could fully articulate.  When all is said and done, Maya Angelou may have best captured the essence of Woodstock in these words:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place 

where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

An Easy Choice

It’s that time again.  Our lease is up for renewal and, in the words of the 80’s rock band, Clash, Bonnie and I have to decide: “Should We Stay or Should We Go?”

Readers of this blog, of course, know how pleased we are with our living arrangement. That view has not changed and, in fact, it was solidified even more fully by a recent column titled “5 Reasons to Rent Versus Buy” by Kelsey Sheehy.  And while we did not need convincing, her article discussed many of the very same things we considered in deciding to sell our home and move into a 55+ Active Adult community. For example:

We want flexibility    One reason we selected our apartment was because we love the city in which it is located, and it is relatively close to family.  Those things could change though.  Any of our children could find themselves forced to move for career reasons, and there is always the possibility Bonnie and I could find ourselves irresistibly drawn to another part of the United States.  Whatever the case, if we decide to move we don’t have to worry about the enormous hassle of selling a home, and all the complications and time that process entails.

We want to be maintenance-free   For many years, I enjoyed doing maintenance, yard work and repairs around the house.  Today, though, the mere thought of having to put up a 40 foot extension ladder to clean the gutters is enough to make me swoon.  There were many good things about home ownership, but seemingly constant repairs, replacement and refurbishment … not to mention dealing with a Home Owners Association … were not among them.  Today, if something needs to be fixed, I dial a number and the repair is done quickly, professionally, at no cost and … here’s the best part … somebody else does the work.

We enjoy amenities   Having owned a house with a swimming pool, we swore we would never do that again … chemicals … vacuuming … repairs … safety concerns.  At our apartment, the pool is always sparkling, the water temperature is perfect, and if it ever needs cleaning … well, somebody else does it.  Apartment living gives us others things as well … access to a fitness center just down the hall … community games and social events … and the opportunity to join neighbors in travel to a variety of locations and attractions.  When we began searching for an apartment, we did not pay particular attention to amenities … now that we are here, though, these things make our experience even more enjoyable.

We like financial predictability   Though rents can fluctuate over time, we know that once we sign our lease our rate is fixed for the term of the rental agreement.  When we owned a home, we found that while our mortgage amount stayed constant, property tax rates always had an impact on our monthly payment.  And, as mentioned, maintenance costs in a home can be unpredictable.  For example, I remember standing in my backyard at 2:00am one August night in Texas (temperature was 95) … holding a flashlight for the air conditioner repairman (who I had called eight hours earlier) … while he tried to coax my AC unit back to life.  Needless to say, I do not miss either the experience or the expense of that sort of thing.

We have a good thing going   We love our apartment and the city where we live.  Nearby shopping and restaurants, along with a wealth of available entertainment options make this a great place to call home.  Our surroundings are quiet and comfortable, and we find ourselves in the midst of some truly amazing people we have come to call friends.  Put differently, we are in a very good place and, as the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Though Sheehy wrote her column for folks trying to decide between buying their first house or continuing to rent, the issues she raises apply perfectly to Bonnie and me.  Full disclosure, we had already made up our minds about renewing our lease, but this article provided another layer of confirmation that we had made … and continue to make … the right choice.  When all is said and done, this is our “me” time, and living in a 55+ Active Adult community allows us to enjoy this period of our lives to the fullest.

In other words, when it comes to renewing our lease … where do we sign?

Calling All Dairy Farmers!

With the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock just around the corner, officials at the Watkins Glen, NY, Raceway reversed their decision to host Michael Lang’s Woodstock 50 extravaganza; state and county permits remain unapproved; financial underwriters have bolted; partners are battling among themselves; and tickets have not yet been made available for sale.

In other words, planning for this shindig is right on schedule.

Thinking back to 1969, the task of finding a site for the festival was a major challenge as well.  Several communities had rejected Lang and his associates until, with less than a month to go, Max Yasgur stepped forward and offered the use of his dairy farm in Bethel, NY, as the venue … and the rest is history.  Similar to the current fiasco, ancillary issues like funding, ticket sales and security were in complete disarray in 1969 and, ultimately, Lang and his associates had no alternative except to make the original Woodstock a free event.

Unfortunately, Max Yasgur passed away in 1973, so organizers cannot call upon him for help this time around.  Somewhere in the bucolic reaches of upstate New York, though, must live a farmer willing to step into the breach.  The dairy industry has been in decline in New York State for several years so, at the very least, hosting an event like this might be a good way to scare up a few extra dollars.   On the other hand, Yasgur’s experiences in 1969, should provide fair warning that any farmer thinking of renting out pastureland for this event should have:

  1. An exceptionally high threshold for stress and aggravation;
  2. The ability to withstand scorn and ostracism from neighbors;
  3. A willingness to endure extensive damage to livestock and property.

Despite being anointed a cult hero, even Max Yasgur decided that one Woodstock Festival was more than enough … he turned down the opportunity to host a reunion in 1970.  In addition, he received a financial settlement that helped cover the costs associated with the near total destruction of his dairy farm.

While our initial plans had us in Bethel on the actual dates of the 50th Anniversary, my wife and I have decided, instead, to take a quieter and less chaotic trip down memory lane.  In early August we will visit the beautifully tended meadow where Woodstock was actually held … we will tour, once again, the spectacular Museum at Bethel Woods … and we will have our picture taken at the Tomb of the Unknown Hippie.

In 1969, a multitude of young folks descended on Woodstock to experience an amazing array of performers pushing the boundaries of a tumultuous time in American history  … Joan Baez … Richie Havens … Joe Cocker … Arlo Guthrie.  Few of those hardy stalwarts are around any more so, fifty years later, aging hippies with plans to sample the musical wares at Woodstock 50 should be prepared to shell out some $400 to hear Miley Cyrus … Soccer Mommy … and Amigo the Devil.

Yes, time is running short, but Michael Lang assures us there is nothing to worry about … he will pull something together.

After all, he did exactly that in 1969.

And we know how that turned out.

The Bus to Woodstock

When the clutch started burning, I knew we were in trouble.

Though I hadn’t volunteered to drive the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office “Command Post” bus to the 1969 Woodstock Festival, when my boss handed me the keys I tried to make the best of it.  In truth, it is a wonder that the tired, old relic ran at all, so when the clutch failed while stuck in traffic on one of the many hills along Route 17B between Monticello and Bethel, New York, we had only one choice … summon a tow truck.

“Command Post” bus (blue and white) at Woodstock in 1969

By the way, calling that antiquated rig a “Command Post” was a real stretch.  It carried no radios or emergency equipment meaning that, except for the modicum of shelter it provided from the incessant rain, it served no useful purpose at Woodstock.  Nevertheless, it definitely stood out … the hordes of young folks traversing Hurd Road could not miss its distinctive blue and white paint job, or the large, reflective Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office star on the rear exit door. 

Hog Farm bus at Woodstock in 1969

While being towed that day toward Bethel, I noticed a vehicle that was to become an iconic Woodstock image: the old bus – painted in psychedelic colors – belonging to a commune called The Hog Farm.  That vehicle was at least as old as ours but, whereas we could not proceed under our own power, their bus seemed to run just fine.  Taking note of this, two things occurred to me.  First, it was obvious that the person who painted the Hog Farm bus was far more imaginative than the one who painted ours and, second, there was no doubting that the hippies had better mechanics than we did. 

Thinking back, our arrival at Woodstock hooked to the back of a tow truck should have given us a “heads up” about what the next few days were going to be like … long hours, sodden fields, gridlocked roads and throngs of people.  With the passage of time, though, my mind gravitates, instead, toward the more pleasant … smiling faces … acts of kindness … expressions of appreciation … and the sense that we were al involved in something bigger than ourselves.

Eventually, I would be able to process what had taken place over those hectic but exhilarating three days but, as things lurched to an end on the final morning, the ill-fated bus demanded our attention once again.  Not only would it not start, we learned that it needed extensive (and expensive) repairs before it could be driven.  Deciding that it made no sense to fix this over-the-hill conveyance, my boss ordered that it be towed directly to a nearby auto salvage yard.

Given the degrading way our crippled vehicle arrived at – and later departed – Woodstock, it deserved a better fate than the one it met with at the junkyard.  Instead of a quiet out-of-the-way place where it could rust away in anonymity, that broken down rig – resplendent in its blue and white departmental livery – was dumped half way up a hill among numerous other junked cars, and in full view of drivers heading south on a major state highway.  There was one final indignity; when the sun hit the back of that discarded old bus at the correct angle, that reflective Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office star on the back door lit up like a Broadway marquee.

Woodstock West

With the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock fast approaching, one can’t help but notice the proliferation of other events designed to attract both the “Original Woodstock Veteran” and the “Nouveau Hippie.”  Take, for instance, the proposal for a three-day Music Festival in May, 2020, at a ranch situated between the very small … and very remote … high desert communities of Marfa and Fort Davis, Texas.845962414aa6fc876e9ff22106308047

When local residents got wind of these plans, concerns were immediately raised about crowd size, availability of food and water, sanitation and public safety.  In the face of this opposition, the promoter postponed the 2020 event, promising to reschedule only after a study of the possible effects a gathering of this sort might have on both communities.

A music festival in this lovely but desolate area presents an additional concern that has, so far, been overlooked … hippies who attended the original Woodstock in Bethel, New York, and who might be expecting a similar experience in Marfa and Fort Davis.  For those intrepid souls, there are some important items to consider before loading up the VW minivan and heading out to deep west Texas:

Livestock   During that memorable sojourn at Woodstock, many young folks climbed fences to interact with Max Yasgur’s gentle dairy cows.  Deciding to do the same on a Texas ranch, though, is asking for trouble…. Longhorn cattle and Brahma bulls can be, well, unfriendly. 

Crowd Size   According to one estimate, 5,000 people were predicted to attend the west-Texas music festival.  While this number would overwhelm Marfa, folks at Woodstock saw that many hippies lined up to use the pay phone at Artie’s Texaco station in White Lake, New York.

Skinny Dipping   Swimming naked in farmers’ ponds was commonplace at Woodstock, but similar water sources do not exist on the high desert.  Jumping into a rancher’s stock tank is not a good idea and, though the natural pool at Balmorhea is a mere 60 miles away, Texas park officials frown on anyone skinny dipping at this historic and family oriented site.

Environment   Attendees at Woodstock walked barefoot in the grassy meadow, with trees nearby for shade.  Those without shoes in the desert, though, will encounter ferocious local critters called Fire Ants.  And when it comes to chilling under shade trees … forget it. 

Traffic   While traffic at Woodstock was gridlocked across the entire region, only a single two-lane highway connects Marfa and Fort Davis, and the closest commercial airports are either El Paso (190 miles) or Midland (180 miles).  On the “up” side, the drive to this part of Texas provides a spectacular sort of desolate beauty, but be sure to keep your gas tank topped off.

Shopping   While several small stores can be found in Marfa and Fort Davis, the nearest Walmart is in Fort Stockton (92 miles).  Yes, there is a Prada Shoe store in Valentine, and a Target store east of Alpine, but these are both art installations … nice to contemplate, but nothing for sale.

Drug Use   Pot smokers who enjoy gazing at the moon and stars are in luck … the McDonald Observatory is only a few miles away, where huge telescopes will enhance the experience.  And for those who see odd, flashing lights in the dark, this is not an apparition or the result of a “bad trip” … the Marfa mystery lights are a genuine local phenomenon. 

One last thought … Marfa is relatively close to the border between the US and Mexico and, as such, visitors driving in the area should not be surprised to encounter a Border Patrol check point.  If this happens, an officer may ask occupants of the vehicle to state their citizenship … word of caution … if asked, do not answer: “Woodstock Nation!”

Settled In … and Loving It!

Reading through the morning newspaper, a headline in the real estate section caught my eye: Homebuilder Woos Apartment Tenants with 12-Month Rent Rebate Offer Toward a House.  The article went on to explain that a developer who builds both individual houses and multi-family complexes, has developed this innovative scheme in hopes of luring families away from apartments toward home ownership.  

Thinking about this unusual offer, my immediate reaction was … why would anyone do such a thing?  What would make someone leave an apartment to buy a house?

Just kidding, of course, for home ownership has, historically, been a major part of the “American Dream” with young families, in particular, seeking their own plot of land upon which to raise a family.  But, that said, my wife, Bonnie, and I are in a very different place when it comes to our choice of domicile and lifestyle; just over two years ago, we sold our home and moved into a superb 55+ Active Adult apartment community … and we love it.

Recently, while sorting through some old financial records, I came across a list of the recurring bills we paid when we owned our last house.  Frankly, I had forgotten how many there were and, when compared to those we now pay in our apartment, the remarkable difference is just one reminder of why we celebrate our decision to live where we do: 

What We Paid in Our House                           What We Pay in Our Apartment

Mortgage                                                                 Rent

TV/Internet/Phone                                               TV/Internet

Real Estate Taxes

City Services (water,sewer,trash)

Heat/AC Service Contract

Alarm System

Yard Maintenance

HOA Fees

Pest Control

In the midst of writing this blog post, the doorbell rang.  Stepping away from my desk, I went to the door where I found our maintenance man stopping by for routine BookCoverPreview.doreplacement of the air filter in the heating and AC unit in our apartment.  This was perfect timing, for it reminded me of one more very important reason why apartment living is exactly right at this stage of our lives … on the few occasions when we have had to submit a maintenance request, the work has been done quickly, professionally and at no cost to us.  And here’s the best part … it is always done by someone else!

It will be interesting to learn whether the new “Rent Rebate” idea works out for this builder, and we certainly wish him well.  And though I am sure we are outside the “target demographic” for this offer, we would not consider anyway … even for a moment … buying a house.  We owned homes for more than fifty years and, without question, doing so enabled us to raise our children in comfortable surroundings and good communities.  But now that it is just the two of us … well, this is our “me time,” and we are really making the most of it!

We just passed the two-year mark in our apartment home, which likely qualifies Bonnie and me as “settled in.”  Even so, barely a day goes by without one of us turning to the other and asking: “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” 

Woodstock Plans Up in “Smoke”

As the countdown continues toward the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock later this year, I am reminded of an old joke that still elicits chuckles and knowing smiles:

Q:  Why has it taken so long to legalize marijuana?

A:  The hippies kept forgetting where they left the petitions!

The point, of course, is that one well known side effect of marijuana use is forgetfulness … at least that is what they say.  If this is true, then impaired memory may be one of the reasons why the planning process for this shindig has been so disjointed … perhaps the organizers simply forgot.  After all, with only fifty years to pull the arrangements together, it is easy to lose track of time.

This is not to suggest that those putting together this gala are dabbling in weed, Mallomars and cheap wine, but this is starting to look a lot like the way plans were made for the original event in 1969 … and we all remember how that turned out!  With the recent departure of a major event organizer, the folks at Bethel Woods are now advertising a “scaled down” gathering which is probably just as well; few of the original bands are performing any more and, those that are, don’t seem up to taking part.  Roger Daltrey of The Who, for instance, let it be known that he won’t be performing in August because, well, it is just too darned hot.

So what are we veterans of “Woodstock Nation” to do?  Should we gather up our tie-dyed outfits and huarache sandals, fill our backpacks with yogurt and granola and head toward Bethel in our VW minibuses?  Or should we just stay home and listen to some classic 78s on the Victrola while sipping Boone’s Farm at room temperature?  Talk about a tough choice!

Speaking just for us, we will be making the long trek back to Yasgur’s Farm in August and, much like wildebeest migrating across the Serengeti, we are not exactly sure why.  Along the way we expect to see other Bethel-bound vehicles with “Woodstock or Bust” signs in the rear window, as we all harbor hopes that an anniversary event will actually await us when we get there.

As plans for our journey come together, I am reminded of the movie “Vacation,” and the way the Griswold family’s torturous cross country trip to Wally World ended.  Having finally made it to their destination, the Griswold’s excitement was short-lived when they found that the place was closed for renovations … and things deteriorated quickly from that point.

Candidly, the “Wally World” scenario is the one I fear most … tired from our long drive … our car dusty from the road … laden with hippie paraphernalia … we make the right turn from Route 17B onto Hurd Road … and pulling up to the gate we see ………..


Adirondack Mountain High

Regardless of what you think of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he has an impeccable sense of timing.  Otherwise, how to explain his push to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in the Empire State this coming year which … coincidentally … is the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock.  

Cuomo’s effort to make marijuana legal in New York is part of a magical confluence of events leading up to August, 2019, when the Anniversary of Woodstock will be celebrated at not one … not two … but three separate venues in that larger region.  First, of course, is the “official” get together at the original site in Bethel, New York … second, is the Michael Lang salute to this iconic event to be held at Watkins Glen, New York … and, third, Ottawa, Ontario, will host a Canadian shindig called “Woodstock North” during that same period.

Imagine the possibilities … if the New York initiative is successful, one could have a “high” time at all three celebrations (the Ottawa event is several days earlier than the others, and marijuana is already legal for recreational purposes in Canada).  One note of caution: don’t transport any amount of weed across the border … possession of marijuana remains a federal offense in the United States, and handcuffs are a definite buzz kill. 

By the way, those visiting upstate New York for the first time should expect to  be overwhelmed by the gorgeous scenery of the region.   As the map below shows, connecting the locations of the three events just mentioned delineates a triangular swath of spectacular vistas including the majestically beautiful Adirondack Mountains.  One of John Denver’s biggest hits was “Rocky Mountain High,” and while the jury is still out on whether he was singing of the beauty of the Rockies or the potency of marijuana, the Adirondacks (I am told) have a similar effect.

The area within the “Adirondack Mountain High” region covers some 11,000 square miles (see map), and anyone in that geographical area during August of this year ought to take certain precautions.  For example, those with respiratory issues should heed long range predictions of elevated air pollution levels consisting of pollen, mountain cedar and pot.  And, hopefully, the FAA will remind pilots that the cloudy haze covering that part of the United States and Canada during that period is not fog … nope, that will be pot as well.

Those of us in attendance at the original Woodstock in 1969, have vivid memories of the weather … rain … turning to rain … followed by rain.  The downpours were, in fact, so pervasive, that conspiracy theorists speculated that the government might be seeding the clouds to make it rain on the hippies.

While event organizers keep their fingers crossed in hopes of good weather this time, the brilliant comedian George Carlin addressed this issue years ago.  In a classic sketch from the 1970s, one of Carlin’s characters, Al Sleet, the “Hippy Dippy Weatherman,” provided a memorable forecast with a Woodstock ring to it:  “… our weather is dominated by a large Canadian low … not to be confused with a Mexican high.”