For Readers and Greenthumbs: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, $9.95 at Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651, powells.com.
Michael Pollan’s elegant exploration of four plants (apples, tulips, cannabis and potatoes) and the part they’ve played in satisfying key human desires put him on the national stage. His approach, which poses the question, “What if the plants are really in charge?” is novel and thrilling, and his prose has a giddy enthusiasm that will catch on like the Spanish flu. The section on marijuana— which the author holds up as a representation of humanity’s desire to get fucked up—is a crash course in cannabis history and the role it has played in our belief in worlds beyond our own. Highly recommended, at least so you can give it to cannabis deniers and say, “Read this and get back to me.”
For Potheads who love Tolkien or Hawaii: Kona coconut and bamboo pipe, $55 at RoseBud Wellness Center, 2239 NE Broadway, 432-8937, rosebudportland.org.
These elegant pipes are hand-carved in Kona, Hawaii, by some pleasant gentlemen who most certainly appreciate their own handiwork. The bowls are hollowed-out coconut seeds, which the Incas used as candles since the nut doesn’t burn and absorbs the fragrance of whatever’s smoked. The stem is a bent bamboo reed that allegedly hardens over time. There are more efficient ways to smoke, but nothing evokes the same primal pleasure of breathing fire from a wooden bowl.
For Mainliners: The Atmos Raw, $90 at most reputable head shops.
What’s best about the Atmos Raw is its versatility. The pen feels hefty, like I’m holding good, old-fashioned American machinery. (I’m not. Atmos pens are made in China.) The ceramic chamber can vaporize a wide array of marijuana’s various forms, including shatter, wax and finely ground herb. I wouldn’t mind a prettier package, but Atmos pens are about form and function, two roles they act out in spades. This is a handy, discrete object to have around.
For Hungry People: A breakfast burrito with added bacon, approximately $6 at Meat Cheese Bread, 1406 SE Stark St., 234-1700, meatcheesebread.com.
It’s got melted cheddar, hash browns and green chile salsa, all blended together splendidly. The hash browns are nicely balanced. The bacon really sets everything off. A lot of breakfast burritos overdo the scrambled eggs. They’re a vehicle, not the star. Let the hash browns in. Let the salsa tickle your tongue. No one looks down at a gift burrito. No one.
For anyone under age 34: PlayStation 3, $200.
Maybe Trey Parker’s final point in South Park’s three-part Game of Thrones-themed Console Wars was that we should all be playing together outside, and that’s a good point. But sometimes in Portland you need to play together inside, and sometimes you need to play with friends across the country. In that case, you should go with the Playstation 3 because you smoke a lot of weed, and having an all-seeing camera from one of the world’s most powerful corporations might not be such a great idea. So forget about fighting for the PS4—grab a PS3 and get in line behind the newly divorced dads.
Photos courtesy of Kona, Atmos, Meat Cheese Bread, and Playstation.