Brian O'Dea (bodea) Tue 22 Sep 09 12:05
I am writing op-ed pieces, and have three books on the go as well as a new treatment for my screenplay version of HIGH. Writing is more difficult today than when I was in prison. There I had much time for that solitary endeavor, while it seems I have less and less time these days as I work on a continuity of paychecks.
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Sep 09 21:21
Sounds like life in general. I was just thinking -- do you have any contact with or any idea what has happened to the people you knew in prison or in the smuggling world? Anybody you wish you could find out about or talk to?
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Wed 23 Sep 09 04:53
I know where most of them are these days, with the exception of the Colombians. Almost all are out of that business, but some remain steadfast and continue. I still have friends in prison who have been there for more than twenty years now, for pot. As far as I am concerned, there is the crime.
Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Wed 23 Sep 09 09:31
Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 24 Sep 09 09:29
Brian, I'm curious about your family. During your time smuggling and in jail were you in touch with your siblings and parents? Were they aware of your dealings?
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Thu 24 Sep 09 09:36
I always kept in touch with my family, with the exception of about three or four years, the time right after my first prison experience in 1972. While what I was doing was never a discussion, everyone knew me. They kept in touch with me throughout my prison experience, and then I was finally released to a half-way house for a couple of years where my brothers and parents lived. Another of the many gifts in the "being arrested" container. I like to say (and may have said it already here) that I would have turned down many of the great gifts of my life given the opportunity up front.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 24 Sep 09 11:09
A half-way house where you could live with people you know sounds interesting. I had a friend who was a half-way house counselor in San Francisco in the 1980s, and my impression was that the group there had only one another (and a part time counselor) for company, peer pressure and support. Also, having a functional family with the emotional and psychological ability to stay connected through it all is something not everybody ends up with. Good for them.
bill braasch (bbraasch) Thu 24 Sep 09 13:56
I know a fellow who was paroled from a federal prison to a place in the San Francisco tenderloin. His roommate wanted him to come along with him to rob the corner store. He turned down the offer. His roommate ripped him off a day or so later and he had to knock the guy out. "they don't want you to succeed", he said to me back then. he moved down to mountain view and went to work selling stereo equipment. made me wonder if drug smugglers are naturally good at selling things like stereo gear. this fellow's prison story began with a flight to La Paz Bolivia. He was arrested at the airport and charged with conspiracy, got a 25 year sentence that he'd still be doing had not Jimmy Carter negotiated a prisoner exchange. The transcript of his trial was 24 pages long and mentioned Al Capone. The conspiracy (the flight) originated in Chicago. In La Paz, the prison guards only worked the day shift. You can imagine what might have happened there after dark. Here's a recent blog entry. Seems little has changed in the 30 years that have passed since this fellow was in prison there. http://esc2.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/coca-prison-and-death-road/ When my friend got back to the US, he spent some time in a minimum security federal prison in Florida. He told me that he kept finding himself in conversations with white collar criminals who wanted to do deals together. Having gained a useful set of skills in La Paz, he very well could have stayed in that business. I lost contact with him, always thought he had a good book inside him. My takeaway from his experience was that you can't just fly down to La Paz and bring stuff back without the risk of working someone else's street corner, especially if the people already on that corner are in the Bolivian government. They will just take you off the street the next time your name shows up on a flight manifest. Who knew the game was rigged?
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 25 Sep 09 04:25
My experience is that most "drug" supplying nations are getting by on much less per capita than we are used to consuming. For example, I seem to remember a figure equivalent to $30.00 was the monthly pay of a Colombian police officer in 1972. So, of course they saw me, and those like me, as a lucrative source of additional funds, and people had their hands out from the bottom to the top, looking for "theirs." Take care of each individual along the way, the path clears for one's departure from those places; don't take care of them, and the detour can take years. I can tell you unequivocally that the game is rigged, and even in our brave and free land, palms are greased, eyes look the other way, shipments move unimpeded through checkpoints. You know, the same way big pharma or the insurance industry "contributes" to your local senator... in any other world, that action is bribery, plain and simple. Let me say that as far as I can tell, until we get money out of politics, nothing will change, such as - drugs will remain illegally distributed through the co operative chain of smugglers and distributors, chased by the giant "Corrections Inc." who have a vast, vested interest in the status quo remaining so. In the past 40 years, we have thrown in excess of a trillion dollars at an ever escalating problem of drug abuse. We live in a "don't let the facts get in the way" kind of world when it comes to this subject. We are the only country in the world that actually brags about increased arrest rates. Imagine! Really; think about that mindset for a minute, the person who thinks it is good news that we are actually arresting and incarcerating more of our citizens. They say "See, it is working." And, until we are willing to have another look, and act differently toward this issue, of course, we cannot expect different results. Can you tell that this is one of my pet rants? Well, I come from Newfoundland, and as that good old Newfoundland folk song goes, "We'll rant and we'll roar like true Newfoundlanders..."
A deep-set hook (robertflink) Fri 25 Sep 09 07:00
Would it be useful to see "money" as a drug the political system is hooked on? Perhaps the deeper problem is the whole matter of getting hooked as on celebrities, ideologies, video games, appearances, action, etc, as well as drugs legal or illegal. Should I include "The Well"?
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Fri 25 Sep 09 07:20
I seem to become readily hooked to anything that takes me from the moment, that takes me from myself. I need to continue to remember that I am the doorway to all things in my world, yet so often I am more concerned with yours, and what's passing through there that I might want/envy/judge... all tricks of that singular part of me that wants me to fail. Only real success for me comes in being here now. As Ram Das said, "Where I am trying to get is here, and when I am trying to get there is now." I need to be reminded so frequently that the real key to the there and then is the now, and if I am continually distracting my self with food/drugs/information so as to allow me to look away from seeing who I am so that I can then see through me, I am going to stay inert, in one spot, for a long while, and most change will be superficial only. It would be a drag to get it on my death bed how much I had avoided allowing in my life through misdirected, wasted attention.
bill braasch (bbraasch) Fri 25 Sep 09 11:29
Interesting point about the long detour if you forget to tip the right people. It was naive to think that you could just roll into La Paz and get some suitcases made, then leave without tipping everyone along the way. On the prior trip, this fellow had been searched on the plane. They taxied out to the runway, then stopped, let the police on and searched him. The goods were taking a different path home, except for what was sewn into my friend's leather passport holder. It made him feel more at ease to hand them what they were looking for, I suppose. Still, he was competing with people who were tipping well, so they took him off the street. It always seemed to me that the same skills and initiative could be applied in a legal context for as good a return. Not as exciting, but far less dangerous.
Cogito??? (robertflink) Fri 25 Sep 09 13:11
Great response in post #61, Brian. And thanks for sharing with us regarding your book and life.
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Sun 27 Sep 09 17:13
Hey Bill re - "The same skills and initiative could be applied in a legal context..." in 2001 I placed an ad in a national newpaper here in Canada that went something like this - FORMER MARIJUANA SMUGGLER Having successfully completed a ten-year sentence, incident free, for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States, I am now seeking a legal and legitimate means to support myself and my family. Business experience: Owned and operated a successful fishing business -- multi-vessel, one airplane, one island and processing facility. Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor-trailer trucks conducting business in the western United States. During this time I also participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot-smuggling venture with revenues in excess of $100-million US annually... I go on to use the DA who prosecuted my case as reference. I got over 600 responses to that ad from all over the world... Some, who think they know these things, say it is the most read classified ad in the world. If you google "Former Marijuana Smuggler ad" you can see plenty on it, including actual scans of the ad.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Sun 27 Sep 09 17:26
But did you get a job? I want to talk to you about CI. How surprised were you and the others when you realized he'd gone to the authorities? What were your feelings around it? about him?
Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 28 Sep 09 00:01
Brian, what music did you listen to in your college-scene days, smuggling days, and now? Any favorite acts, tunes, albums, sounds?
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 28 Sep 09 06:18
Hi Lisa... That ad, through a circuitous route, got me a job producing a television series that went on to become the number one show on a couple of Canadian Networks, and is now shown all over the world. Re CI If you recall, earlier on I wrote of how I managed to survive through not second guessing, following my intuition, and gut instincts. The moment I first heard from CI regarding the offload he had come up with, I knew I should hang up the phone. He was a wild card that I knew had pieces of him which were connected to people I would have nothing to do with; and initially, I did, hang up that is. But, after a few calls I succumbed to the potential money. In my heart I felt that this would find a way to unravel, and I hated being right later, but I was not surprised. All of us felt that once we pushed him away, it was going to be really impossible to keep an eye on him. It is said that we should keep our enemies closer than our friends, and I know why through my CI experience. CI is who he is, and I owe him a debt of gratitude as he provided the threshold to some of the greatest gifts of my life. While the little me thinks the world's daisy growing mechanism would benefit from his inclusion in the compost, I do realize that were it not for his chicanery and traitorous behavior, I would not be here having this brilliant conversation; I would have missed the time in prison where I learned so much of me and others; I would have missed the opportunity and perhaps not taken any other time to write the foundation for what was to become HIGH; Con-Air would only be a movie; I would have missed being sent to Newfoundland to live in a half-way house for two years, where I had the opportunity to build a relationship with my parents, one which I never had; and at that same time I got to know my brothers, and to be the lucky recipient of their friendship and support after twenty years of "I wonder where Brian is." Despite the many and varied and completely wonderful gifts that came though CI's betrayal (I'll be dining out on them for the rest of my life), I have never seen him since, nor do I care to see him again. It's like that sexual abuse, I learned so much from it, but years after the fact, and while the lessons I gleaned from that series of incidents with the Irish Brother have proved invaluable, I won't be inviting that character home for Thanksgiving this year either.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Mon 28 Sep 09 07:14
Ooh, good answer. I am familiar with the feeling of being right about something I wish I had been wrong about. Satisfying and sucky all at the same time. It's amazing that the ad was THAT successful.
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 28 Sep 09 08:11
Christian... The soundtrack to my life, huh? I have never really looked at that until now, as I know I will need to do when it comes to the film version, although there are a few artists that stand out in my memory, and I will make a little list here for you, and please forgive me if the chronology is wonky... First of all, let me tell you that there are two songs from my very early youth that have always stayed with me, and I will find a way to place these in the film appropriately. The first is a song, that, when it was a hit in 1954/55 (I think), the young girl from outport (very rural at that time) Newfoundland, who helped my mom with the five of us, used to sing that song to me as she ironed, and as her toothless mouth so gleefully sang out those words so that even Jim Reeves would have loved the sound, my heart soared with joy as I was that Bimbo. Bimbo, Bimbo Where you going to go e o , Bimbo, Bimbo What you going to do e o. Bimbo, Bimbo Does your mommie know, that your going down the road to see a little girlly o Bimbo, is a little boy, who's got million friends and every time he passes by, they all invite him He'll clap his hands and sing and dance and talk his baby talk. With a hole in pants and his knees stick out, he's just big enough to walk. And on it goes. The next song, I see as the underlying theme music for the film, and that is Green Door by Jim Lowe, which was a hit shortly after Bimbo, probably 56 or 57. I can just hear "There's an old piano playin' down behind the green door" as the load of pot comes crashing through the cockpit door on that DC6. (Midnight, one more night without sleepin') (Watchin' till the mornin' comes creepin') (Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?) (Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?) Green door!! But to the early years of herbal and chemical illumination, I seem to recollect Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven as an incredible acid song, as was just about everything by Jimi Hendrix. If you haven't heard Joe Bird and the Field Hippies "American Metaphysical Circus", then rush out and get it. It has recently been re-released on disc. The Byrds music was always a wonderful soundtrack for inner landscape exploration, Cream, Bob marley of course, and Toots, John Mayall, Steve Windwood, Blind Faith; I got to see Pink Floyd perform the entire Umma Gumma in Denmark at the Falconbridge. It was one of those incredible, memorable experiences, it was the flower growing out of the shit I was in at that moment, living in a hovel with two very addicted morphine junkies. Then there was always the Steve Miller Band. Interesting with Steve, was that every single album they released, on first hearing I could not get with, however on every subsequent listening, it was the most recent greatest sound ever, and fabulous tripping music... Deep Purple, Moody Blues, Audience, The Who, Alice Cooper, Captain Beefheart, The Turtles and then Flo and Eddy, Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Steppenwolf, Lighthouse, Sly and the Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, Lou Reed, Simon and Garfunkel (remember the talking poster in the "green powder" story?), Santana, Isaac Hayes, Credence, and on and on. Most recently, I have found a new and wonderful Canadian singer songwriter, Justin Rutledge, and I find I am listening to him frequently; then there is Alex Mason, my friend who goes by Al Mageddon (http://www.almageddon.com) will get you to his music. I love that guy. My ongoing soundtrack is Agustin Lara, Antony and the Johnsons, music of Arvo Pärt, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Scott, Leonard Cohen, Michael Franks, the beautiful and sweet Charlotte Gainsbourg and her mother, too - Jane Birkin, Kiri Te Kanawa is singing one of four versions of Chants D'Auvergne I have as I type this list. I have to stop and listen, now, so more will be revealed.
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 28 Sep 09 09:35
On my MYSPACE page http://www.myspace.com/brianodea there is a song which streams by Red Peters called The Hand of the Almighty which I love listening to often. You'll see. Perhaps a better place to listen is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLwtqwnI6ko
Brian O'Dea (bodea) Mon 28 Sep 09 10:27
Oh yeah, for Justin Rutledge, go to http://www.justinrutledge.com/
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 29 Sep 09 10:46
Thanks for that link! Brian, this has been a fascinating conversation. With just a day to go, I wanted to remember to recap where to find information about the book and your speaking schedule -- at http://www.brianodea.com/ I also wanted to make a note of some of the great ongoing conversations about these issues in other WELL conferences. The <drugs.> conference for the heavy matters, and places like <music.> for some of the related culture. (There's a classic topic about drug coverage in the news that is linked (displayed in common) in both <drugs.> and <media.> where the related journalism is deciphered, which you may enjoy, too.)
Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 29 Sep 09 15:18
can someone show Brian how to extract the term WoSD (short for "War on (Some) Drugs")?
bill braasch (bbraasch) Tue 29 Sep 09 19:23
here's the topic search topic wosd current.old.696 F The WOSD Strikes Again drugs.604 How & When Will the WOSD End? drugs.682 Charting the End of the WOSD in Europe politics.old.489 F WoSD : Violation of International Law? seems like there are more topics on this.
bill braasch (bbraasch) Tue 29 Sep 09 19:27
here's a search for topics that include the word drugs. advertising.69 Advertising drugs attack.143 F R Interrogation, torture, drugs, polygraphs bb.old.131 F Drugs are Food for Mutants belgium.ind.28 L Legalizing Drugs bryana.206 Bryana drugs bryana.old.47 F This is your bryan on drugs canada.94 Drugs Canada current.534 More news from the War On Some Drugs current.old.116 F Gingrich Claims White House Staffers Used Drugs current.old.243 F Sex, Drugs, Death, and Abortion: Help Me, Please current.old.302 F More Fallout From The War On Some Drugs current.old.453 F Drugs & Racism - the Left & Right Achilles' Heels current.old.492 F Everybody Must Get Stoned - Free Drugs for the Elderly current.old.576 F The War on Drugs, a modest proposal current.old.579 F If the ancient Greeks had had performance enhancing drugs, they would have built shrines to them current.old.654 F Drugs, Docs 'n Dollars current.old.829 F Dubya and drugs current.old.1121 F Reagan and drugs - my drugs dreams.ind.120 Dreams and anti-depressant drugs drugs.96 Dangerous Drugs [cont.] drugs.143 L Legalizing Drugs drugs.167 Technical References on Psychelics/Psychoactive Drugs drugs.203 Botanical Drugs drugs.214 F Drugs in America V drugs.224 Sharing Drugs drugs.250 Advertising Drugs drugs.264 F Bush's War on Drugs (continued) drugs.271 Computers and Drugs drugs.285 Legalization of Drugs drugs.295 Legal drugs... drugs.299 L Drugs and Children drugs.304 F R the tobacco industry: pushing lethal addictive drugs to our kids drugs.328 F News from the War on Some Drugs drugs.338 F R Experiences with "Smart Drugs" and Nutrients drugs.343 Drugs and getting pregnant drugs.352 F R Smart nutrition? Smart drugs? Dumb users? drugs.353 R Media portrayal of drugs drugs.367 News from the Net about The War on Drugs drugs.386 Smart Drugs Facts? drugs.388 FL Barlow's defense of LSD against The War On Some Drugs drugs.389 FL Smart Drugs? Smart Nutrition? Smart Users? [cont] drugs.394 Perot's War on Drugs and Privacy and Freedom drugs.404 Bush's War on Drugs Continues drugs.408 R U 486 and the importation of unnaproved drugs for personal use drugs.409 F The Horror, The Horror - Chris Wallace's War On Some Drugs drugs.412 Drugs in Prison drugs.414 Natural vs. (Hu)Man-made Drugs drugs.418 R DRUGS & SPIRITUALITY [GNOSIS] drugs.420 L Drugs drugs.443 Drugs for suggestibility drugs.456 SMART DRUGS drugs.475 New Book about Religious Drugs drugs.480 Dreaming about Drugs drugs.487 Drugs for sleep disorder called restless leg syndrome? drugs.489 Legalize Drugs...will the surgeon general set a fire? drugs.494 How to stop the war on Americans (war on drugs) drugs.499 LR Definitive Indictment of the War on Drugs drugs.506 Share your Experience with Good drugs drugs.520 R the latest on smart drugs interception by the feds drugs.548 what drugs are you on drugs.577 URLs, References and Resources for Drugs drugs.578 Sacred Drugs and Rituals drugs.589 F "The War on Drugs is Lost" - Nat'l Review and NY Mag drugs.591 Books on Drugs drugs.592 Drugs & Creativity drugs.595 Let's Start the War on All Drugs! drugs.596 Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered Again? drugs.609 Drugs, gateway to... gardening drugs.610 News from the War on Some Drugs drugs.623 New Drugs drugs.665 RAVE DRUGS drugs.683 F Media coverage of the War on Some Drugs drugs.688 If All Drugs Were Legal, Which Ones Would You Take? drugs.689 Smart Drugs drugs.690 New Host(s) For The Drugs Conference drugs.691 F Media coverage of the War on Some Drugs drugs.692 Buying drugs on line drugs.695 If all drugs were legal, what would happen? drugs.696 Misc questions about drugs drugs.697 FL Media coverage of the War on Some Drugs drugs.705 L More media coverage of the War on Some Drugs europe.ind.50 F R The War on Some Drugs -- Ending in Europe? firearms.old.67 F Zero Tolerance or Zero Intelligence - The USA's new war on drugs and citizens. firearms.old.68 F Zero Tolerance/Zero Intelligence - War on drugs or war on citizens - Part II firearms.old.83 F COPS & DRUGS symbiosis research first.old.55 F Supreme Court and Drugs, 1991 Session gd.2141 Deadheads and the War on Some Drugs gd.old.473 F Gay Vegan Jewish Ratdog Fans Who Love Jazz and Want to Talk about the Fraudulent Election of George Bush As Well As Travel Tips to Paris, David Gans' Solo Career, the Next Dick's Picks, the War on Some Drugs, and Why Jam Band Lyrics Are So Lame gd.old.557 FL Barlow's defense of LSD against The War On Some Drugs genx.29 L Drugs health.1566 Expiration dates on drugs and supplements health.1770 Ordering Prescription Drugs From Canada health.1825 Doctors paid millions by drug companies to give unsafe drugs health.1850 Snake Oil or Gift of the Gods: supplements, herbs, OTC drugs health.1877 The cost of meds, and saving money on drugs health.old.221 F new weight loss drugs health.old.247 F Ads for Rx drugs - cool or stupid? health.old.440 F The Politics of Pharmaceuticals (HIV drugs in particular) health.old.499 F Psychotherapy, Mind-altering Drugs and Back Problems health.old.573 F Can prescription drugs be redistributed? health.old.613 F Buying prescription drugs health.old.721 F Bastard drugs? health.old.827 F Diet drugs/weight loss/fenfluramine-phentermine history.427 Historical Parallels to the War on Drugs jazz.26 Jazz musicians and Drugs. legal.old.38 F Supreme Court on double jeopardy and drugs legal.old.72 F Little leaguers on drugs?..the Supremes strike again. media.2387 FL Media coverage of the War on Some Drugs media.2575 L More media coverage of the War on Some Drugs misc.old.11 FL Smart Drugs? Smart Nutrition? Smart Users? [cont] mondo.old.15 F Experiences with "Smart Drugs" and Nutrients mondo.old.67 F Smart Drugs? Smart Nutrition? Smart Users? [cont] mondo.old.385 F Experiences with "Smart Drugs" and Nutrients mondo.old.393 F Smart Drugs? Smart Nutrition? Smart Users? [cont] movies.old.28 F Movies and Strange Drugs music.old.648 F Who likes TECHNO??, the music of drugs and fun and computers and such... news.ind.16 How to Drive Real Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink oldbrain.113 F 101 Smart Drugs You'd Like To Have Available optical.ind.32 Should Optometrists Prescribe Prescription Drugs? pacrim.169 R Drugs in Asia parenting.1019 What do you tell YOUR kids about Drugs & Sex?, part II parenting.old.512 F How to deal with morning sickness without drugs!? parenting.old.529 F What do you tell YOUR kids about Drugs & Sex? parenting.old.763 L Drugs and Children politics.old.85 F CA Prop 8. Schools: Class Size Reduction, Credentialing, Suspension for Drugs politics.old.195 F Should all mind altering drugs be legal ? Heroin, cocaine, PCP etc. ? politics.old.349 F Calif. Proposition 36: Drugs, Probation, and Treatment Program politics.old.536 F War on Drugs: Part 2, Tobacco politics.old.553 F War on Drugs == Human Rights Crime politics.old.652 F The War on Drugs as "the One Ring"? popcult.old.59 F Proof that there was a time everyone was on drugs popcult.old.409 F A new millenium, time for new drugs psychology.272 LR Definitive Indictment of the War on Drugs religion.ind.13 Religion and Drugs science.old.102 F Modeling the effect of drugs on the human body science.old.263 F Science of the War on Drugs southwest.old.104 F Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll in Austin true.old.298 F Addictions. Low grade, not drugs and stuff like that. weird.2295 Drugs weird.6320 R Stoner (jax)'s War On Drugs! wellkids.old.38 F Do your parents admit they used drugs? woodstock.old.12 F The difference between drugs then and now workers.old.109 F Arrest the War on Drugs workers.old.118 F The White Middle Class Needs the War on Drugs workers.old.135 F Human Rights Crimes in the War on Drugs writers.old.627 F writers on drugs some goodies in there.
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