- Warming Trend
- Manchester Easter
- Permit Fees
- Goosing Around
- Secret Subcommittee
- Waiting for Silverman
- SF 1906
- Bohn Pressured
- Real Kana
- Rental Ban
- Vintage Jalopy
- Ukiah Players
- Wildfire Talks
- Immigration Idea
- Naval Testing
- DA Drone
- Yesterday's Catch
- Budget Conundrum
- Rebel Eating
- Saudi's Prostitute
- Memorable Party
- Railroad Crossing
- Marco Radio
- Foggy Barrow
- Donald Twat
- Reefer Madness
- Daughter Visit
A WARMING AND DRYING TREND is expected today through mid week, particularly across interior valleys where temperatures will climb well into the 80s. Breezy north winds will continue near the coast and along ridges. A gradual cooling trend is then expected late in the week, with slight chances for showers across mostly interior mountainous areas. (National Weather Service)
AS PREDICTED: HERE COME THE PADDED POT FEES.
(Note that these fees are already very high.)
CEO Intro: “Planning & Building Services — Planning Division is updating their permitting fees for FY19-20 to account for increased salaries, benefits, and A-87 cost allocations. Cannabis Management division, formerly housed under the Agriculture department, has moved under the umbrella of Planning & Building Services. With this change in personnel and operations the current cannabis related fees were reviewed and updated accordingly.
(The following worksheet sample shows how these fees are padded by every expensive staffer piling on every conceivable step for whatever time they think is involved. The estimates are not verified as actually necessary or even accomplished for any given fee.)
THIS TERRIFICALLY INFLATED PROCESS is now applied to every conceivable fee and is how the county calculates “full cost recovery.”
PREDICTION: These new fees will be rubberstamped by the Board of Supervisors without a question asked.
GOOSE REPORT: Things got a little wild today. While she was sitting two thugs challenged her mate. He took them on and let them know who was in charge. After blowing off some steam he finally settled down and continued standing guard.
DEATH BY SECRET SUBCOMMITTEE
by Rex Gressett
On a Wednesday afternoon, Town Hall was empty except for the seven members of the City Council-appointed ad hoc California Voting Rights Act Committee. And one guy in the chairs who had no plans for his afternoon. This guy was asked to remain quiet and did.
Then, in a radical shake-up, newby Councilperson, Tess Albin- Smith, and Scott Menzies executed a pre-calculated power play in which the Ad Hoc Committee will cease to meet for an undetermined interval. Instead, Albin-Smith and Menzies, a subcommittee of two, will give their personal attention to the primary issue the seven-person committee was appointed to talk about.
The CVRA (California Voting Rights Act) has not received all that much attention in Fort Bragg, even though local application of the Act could have sunk the City financially. My readers know, and those few and rare savants who can decipher the baby pablum that issues out of the Advocate-News might know, that Fort Bragg got sued last year under a new state law that mandates the end of open general elections and imposes the substitution of neighborhood representatives. Fort Bragg's Hispanics, you see, are not fairly represented, an assertion that surprised ethnically harmonious Fort Bragg.
Careful readers might know that districting, as it is called, stops general elections. They might know that hundreds of cities and school districts have lost the right to conduct traditional elections. Under state-mandated districting, you get to choose your council person not on the basis of who will be best, not on the basis of who can grapple with the substantial challenges the city faces, not on who will work hard enough, not who will express the people's interest as our elected representatives, instead, we will all pick our council people from a small group of neighbors who happen to live in our immediate, specific neighborhood.
Goodbye to the City Council as we know it. Under districting, instead of the sometimes wrong, but inarguably hard-working City Council, you will get a City Council of neighborhood volunteers. That ends democracy in Fort Bragg as we have known it. It utterly ends adversarial politics.
Hundreds of indignant, patriotic California cities have fought back in court against this irrational state intrusion and the aggressive undermining of local democracy.
But every city and school board has lost. The state law is arbitrary, inflexible, and inescapable.
Litigation costs for the many dozens of cities that have fought the CVRA have been in the millions. Every city that resisted has been saddled with massive litigation expenses and lost anyway.
Fort Bragg had the improbable good fortune to be sued by a friendly local attorney who poked us into action and then backed down before things got too expensive. Clearly, he did it out of a sense of courtesy and regard for his town.
Jacob Patterson's CVRA lawsuit could have busted the city but Patterson was simply nice (for a lawyer) and the city ducked the bullet temporarily.
The settlement with Patterson mandated the CVRA committee. and tasked them with a recommendation to the city council about how elections might look in the city given the CRVA mandate. Tess Albin-Smith bent the rules to become the committee chair.
Wednesday afternoon, under Albin-Smith's meticulously prepared direction, the committee was bullied into handing over primary committee responsibilities to a subcommittee comprised only of herself and Scott Menzies.
Jim Britt and Sharon Davis sheepishly voted themselves out of relevance. That vote meant that Albin-Smith and Scott Menzies will decide what kind of voting system the committee will recommend to the Council.
Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller covered up the power grab by slamming down a gag order preventing the videotaping of the meeting. This unprecedented blackout was issued without consultation with the City Council. Ms. Miller kept the cameras off and the people of the city in the dark while Albin-Smith and Menzies took over the substantive work of the committee. (They had to kick me out of the room to do it. Whatever is happening they don’t want you to see it.)
The rules by which you elect your City Council and the School Board might not be at the top of your personal agenda, but everything else depends on it. The kind of City Council we have matters. The kind of school board we have matters. Elections and their form are the very substance of our democratic rights. All of it is being substantially altered. You don’t get a choice, it's coming from way over the hill. Welcome to the brave new world.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Sweet Electra is a 2 year old, spayed, female cat. Electra is friendly and affectionate but also a little skittish of new things. Her ideal home would be a quiet space with minimal traffic. Electra will be a great friend for someone looking for a mellow, quiet cat. Electra loves pets and comfy, quiet places to take her daily naps. Come down to the Ukiah Shelter to spend time with Electra and see for yourself what a sweet cat she is.
Ms. Swirl is a delightful young dog who LOVES to toss her toys way up in the air. She's active, very people-oriented, and an all-around joyful girl. Swirl met Sombra, another female shelter guest, and they did well together. Swirl is looking for an active family that will get her out of the house and provide plenty of exercise. This happy-go-lucky dog is 1 year old, weighs 31 pounds, spayed and ready to jump into your car ASAP.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, and the shelter's programs, services and events, please visit us online at http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com. For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
by Bruce McEwen
As the courtroom fell idle awaiting prisoner Jacob Silverman to be transported from the jail, and as the estimated time of arrival came and went, the conversation of the court officers having somehow got started on the urban legend of underground tunnels below the courthouse and other buildings in the downtown area.
Judge John Behnke related an anecdote from the good old days, the mid-80s, when his current courtroom, at the top of the courthouse and directly across from Supervisor John McCowen’s building, was a jail.
In those days, the judge said, there was an underground pot grow, in the cellars of the Mendocino Environmental Center, which had been discovered accidentally when a kid walking with his mom on the sidewalk dropped his only quarter through a grating. Mom couldn’t get the kid to let the quarter go and after looking through the grating, shading his eyes from the glare of the sidewalk by cupping his hands around his face, he finally saw a room full of plants his quarter had fallen into.
In those days, Behnke recalled, the prisoners used to tear the bed sheets into strips and fashion long strings which they lowered down, at night, and their friends would attach joints to the strings and the prisoners would haul the contraband up to the cells where they would all partake.
After over an hour (of waiting for Mr. Silverman) Corporal Hendry came in from the jail and reported that Mr. Silverman was refusing to come to court. Hendry (cousin to the legendary local lawman of the same last name) said that as they were trying to shackle Silverman for transport he became combative and kicked a corrections officer. He was then taken to the ground and continued to resist…
Angelina Potter, Silverman’s lawyer, said that was enough, the court didn’t need to hear any more details of her client’s behavior. She asked that a mental health professional be called in to talk to Silverman, give him the weekend to calm down, and see if he would come peaceably to court on Monday.
Judge Behnke agreed, saying he didn’t want to see anybody get hurt.
On the way out of the courthouse Ms. Potter told me that Mr. Silverman often became extremely upset by reading the AVA. (Which, I am reliably informed, now goes to every unit at the jail.) Ms. Potter seemed to be appealing to me to tone my reports down, so as to spare her client these episodes of unpleasantness. I therefore resolved to temper this report with Judge Behnke’s nostalgic reminiscences.
If it is any consolation to Mr. Silverman, I would like to say that about a year ago I was arrested for passing out in a barroom, and on my way to jail, I was taken to UVMC for a medical clearance. At the hospital, I told the medico clipping his electronic vitals equipment to me that he did not have my permission to treat me. He kept right on doing his thing and when I jerked my hand away from him, the officers cuffed me and bundled me away to the jail. All of which was fine with me. I’d been intoxicated in public, and got what I had coming.
But what annoyed me was when I later learned that the officers told the Ukiah Daily Journal that I had become “combative” with the medical staff. This was an exaggeration, to my mind, but the officers have to take this position because it always transpires that defense will minimize the behavior and try to make the officers appear callous. It is just the way our adversarial system of justice – the envy of the world – works.
And so keep in mind, Mr. Silverman, that I too have been in similar situations and have finally learned the answer to that ageless riddle:
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
(I’ll let the readers answer for themselves.)
SAN FRANCISCO, April 18, 1906, 6:30pm.
HUMCO SUPERVISOR REX BOHN CONDEMNED FOR ‘DANGEROUS’ JOKE
by Daniel Mintz
The pressure on Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn is intensifying as members of the community say he’s a racist and rally for his resignation in the wake of an offensive joke.
Controversy over Bohn’s divisive sense of humor and what’s seen as his tepid response to it peaked at the April 16 Humboldt Coumty Board of Supervisors meeting, where multiple community members demanded he set an example by resigning.
The focus on racism stems from a wisecrack Bohn made during a one-on-one conversation at a March 9 fundraiser in Eureka. An auction item for the fundraiser was a Mexican meal and when Bohn was told of its authentic content, he jokingly asked if the authenticity would motivate its consumers to hit the streets and “steal hubcaps.”
The remark has been confirmed because it was overheard and earlier this month, community organizer Renee Saucedo released a statement on it demanding Bohn’s resignation.
A rally preceded the supervisors meeting and many of its participants were in board chambers. During an open public comment session, Saucedo warned that use of language has social influence.
“An elected official made a joke about Mexicans stealing hubcaps – reinforcing the stereotype that Mexicans are generally criminals, gang members,” she said. “Why are comments like this exceedingly dangerous, supervisors? Because language, especially from public officials, becomes part of the local culture, which leads to discriminatory practices and policies.”
Other commenters described Bohn’s jocular allusion to criminal behavior as “extremely divisive,” “appalling” and “hurtful.”
Some spoke of the pervasiveness of racism and “white privilege.” An Arcata resident presented Bohn with a copy of the book “White Fragility,” subtitled “Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism.”
Other speakers linked the situation to what they described as Humboldt’s generally racist social environment and the unprosecuted killing of Humboldt State University student Josiah Lawson.
“I come to you right now as a black man in Humboldt County and there hasn’t been a moment where I felt safe,” said HSU student Isaiah Alexander.
He added that to uphold standards of integrity and character for county leadership, Bohn should make “a very, very, very difficult decision” and resign.
“I’m saying that because I don’t trust you, I don’t trust anyone here,” he continued as applause sounded. “I’m saying this because this is real. People like me are being attacked, people like me are dying and if you’re not going to do anything about it — then just get out of the way.”
Meg Stofsky, a member of the local NAACP branch, challenged Bohn to confront the import of his remark. “You used your white privilege, you thought you weren’t going to be heard — but we’re listening,” she said. “We understand where that came from, we’re in a white racist society. We can’t help that but we can help what’s in our hearts and what comes out of our mouths.”
Stofsky invited Bohn to join a “white fragility group” that meets monthly so that he can “come and explore how you have been infected” and allow his constituents to have “what they need – someone who isn’t blatantly racist.”
A member of the NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee that fields reports of discrimination, Stofsky described Humboldt County as “a racist society that lets black and brown people die on the streets.”
Kelsey Reedy, who chairs the county’s Green Party, said that racism holds sway in the county, even within HSU. She emphasized the context of Bohn’s role as a county leader and told him, “You’re being a Trump right now, Rex Bohn, and your apology needs to be redone because you didn’t apologize for what you did, you just apologized for the potential offense of it.”
She added, “You didn’t take any responsibility and you need to own that – resign or we’ll recall you.”
Bohn is chair of the board and as he called on Supervisor Mike Wilson to introduce the next agenda item, members of the audience called out, disappointed that there would be no response to what they had said. Bohn and Wilson explained that board commentary on non-agenda items is limited.
But the explanation fell flat and Charmaine Lawson, Josiah Lawson’s mother, stood up and demanded that Bohn respond to what had been said with a substantial apology.
When Bohn attempted to end the exchange by saying “thank you,” someone shouted out, “Stop saying thank you, be a human being with a heart and soul and say you’re sorry.”
“We’re adjourned,” said Bohn.
After a break, the meeting reconvened.
FLOW KANA PURCHASES REAL GOODS PROPERTY
April 19, 2019 -- John Schaeffer, CEO and founder of Real Goods Solar Living Center and the Solar Living Institute, recently announced the company is selling its iconic Hopland property to Flow Kana -- the cannabis distribution company with a facility at the old Fetzer winery in Redwood Valley. We caught up with John Schaeffer and Flow Kana CEO Michael Steinmetz, who spoke about their motivation to partner up as well as their plans going forward. (Carol Brodsky/KZYX)
KATHY WYLIE with a policy idea badly needed in Mendo: "In order to boost housing availability, Monterey passed an ordinance banning companies like Airbnb and Vrbo from advertising places that were in violation of the short-term rental ordinance. Monterey contracted with a software developer to streamline the process…"
“NOISES OFF” is the title of an upcoming Ukiah Players Theater presentation. Written in 1982 by English playwright Michael Frayne, “Noises Off” is a comedic play about the production of a play in England involving flubbed lines and missing cues, etc., causing friction among the cast members. "Brimming with slapstick comedy, the play is a delightful backstage farce complete with slamming doors, falling trousers and of course flying sardines!" Underwritten by Norm and Karen Rosen, John Chan Plumbing and Black Oak Coffee roasters, the play will be staged from April 25 to May 19 on Thursdays through Sundays at 7pm (2pm on Sunday). Tickets available at the Ukiah Players Theater box office, 462-9226 and on-line ukiahplayerstheater.org and at Mendocino Book Co. The Ukiah Players Theatre is at 1041 Low Gap Road in Ukiah.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT will host a three-part fire prevention series called “Living with Wildfire (in the Navarro River watershed)” on three successive Tuesdays — April 30, May 7, and May 14, from 6-8pm at the Boonville Firehouse. The first Tuesday will cover Fire Behavior And Home Hardening, the second Fire Behavior And Best Management Practices, and the third Organizing And Communicating At The Neighborhood Level. "Learn how factors like topography, wind and fuel might affect fire behavior in your neighborhood and what you can do to be prepared.” Group size is limited. RSVP by calling 895-2020 or email admin@AndersonValleyFire.org. Sponsored by the Anderson Valley Fire Department and the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council.
ON THE CONTRARY
Contrary to President Donald Trump, we are not “all full” here in Northern California and, in fact, we need more workers in every category.
Knowing that there are people willing to immigrate to the United States to seek a better life for themselves and their families, we should make things easier and safer for them to do so. Congress has failed (yes, both Democrats and Republicans) to provide a commonsense immigration system that ensures security to our existing population and a pathway for future citizens.
Here’s a few ideas that might provide a solution: Immigrants entering the United States must have official identification with picture ID from their country of origin; confirmation of no criminal history and provide biometric data, including a DNA sample. They would receive a new photo ID with an identification number that would be used by employers to collect payroll taxes that would finance this new immigration system and pay for social services provided to noncitizens. After 10 years of successful participation in American society, citizenship would be awarded.
What’s missing here?
SUPES TO OPPOSE NAVY TESTING
(Proposed letter to be considered at the Tuesday, April 23, Supervisors Meeting.)
April 23, 2019
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
3730 N. Charles Porter Avenue, Building 385
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500
RE: Opposition to Sonar Testing Off the Coast of Mendocino County
Dear NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager:
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors believes that sonar and explosive testing off the Mendocino Coast is detrimental to fauna of the oceanic ecosystem on which we rely. This fragile ecosystem supports migrating whales and a wide variety of sea life and is a key economic source for our county and must not be damaged in any way. We do not want this testing in our coastal waters and believe that all coastal waters should be off limits to this type of testing. Mitigations must be in place to limit possible harm to marine life.
Thank you for your consideration and efforts to keep our country safe while considering environmental impacts.
Carre Brown, Chair
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
THE DA WANTS A DRONE
(No reason given)
Consent Agenda Item 4j) on Tuesday, April 23, Supervisors Agenda: Approval of Purchase of Advexure Aerial Drone in the Amount of $26,761.04 with an Equal Share of Cost between California State Association of Counties Excess Insurance Authority Subsidy Fund and DA Asset Forfeiture Fund 2110-760220; Approval of Associated Appropriation Transfer to District Attorney Budget Unit 2070 Revenue Accounts, Line Items 823310 in the Amount of $13,380.52 and 826390 in the Amount of $13,380.52, and to Line Item 864370 in the Amount of $26,761.04; and Addition of Item to County’s List of Fixed Assets
ACCORDING TO THE ADVEXURE DRONE WEBSITE: “The DJI Matrice 200 Series drones are designed with law enforcement in mind, providing top-of-the-line imaging technology in an ultra-portable package” for “suspect search, crime scene mapping, traffic collision mapping, search warrants or any other mission…”
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 20, 2019
FIDEL ARREGUIN, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
DAVID BOLOGNA, Redwood Valley. Mayhem, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
DEREK DAVIS, Covelo. Probation revocation.
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SERGIO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DONTRELL LAWRENCE, Dallas, Texas/Ukiah. Importation of more than an ounce of pot, conspiracy.
ALEXANDER LOUTSIS, Willits. Domestic abuse.
CALEB MACARTHUR, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSEPH MATEJCIK, Willits. DUI.
RICHARD MCCORMICK JR., Ukiah. Burglary, vandalism, conspiracy.
AUGUST MCKEE, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
LUKE NADEAU, Fort Bragg. DUI, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
BRIAN NADON, West Vancouver, British Columbia/Ukiah. DUI with priors.
JEREMY SCHENCK, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
ROBERT SMITH, Fort Bragg. Battery.
BRANDON YOUNG, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
AN AVA MUST WATCH!
JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon made more than $31 million last year, but many of his employees can barely make ends meet. Kudos to @RepKatiePorter for so brilliantly calling out this hypocrisy.
NEW STUDY FINDS simple way to inoculate teens against junk food marketing.
Chicago Booth researchers find diets improve when tapping adolescents’ desire to rebel; teenage boys cut back junk food purchases by 31 percent.
TRUMP — STOP ASSISTING SAUDI ARABIA’S GENOCIDAL WAR IN YEMEN
Unlike President Trump, I will not turn our great country into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia.
By vetoing the War Powers resolution that would have seen the US finally end its support of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war against the people of Yemen, Trump again proves that he is the servant of Saudi Arabia — the theocratic dictatorship which spends billions of dollars every year spreading the most extreme and intolerant form of Islam around the world, the very ideology that motivates al-Qaeda and other jihadists.
Trump’s veto of the War Powers Act is further a betrayal of his campaign promise to end “stupid wars.” Trump is caving to the neocons around him who are fomenting regime change war in Venezuela and Iran and escalating the new Cold War and nuclear arms race. These wars have and will continue to waste trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives, undermine our national security by strengthening terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and cause untold suffering and devastation for the people in the countries where we wage these wars.
We are complicit in the genocide that Saudi Arabia is carrying out in Yemen, that has killed tens of thousands of innocent children and civilians as well as the deaths of millions more from disease and starvation. We must do the right thing and stop assisting Saudi Arabia as they carry out this genocide.
We already know Trump is more interested in pleasing the Saudis than doing what’s right, but we don’t have to accept that. I will put the interests and the values of the American people first, not the interests of the theocratic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia.
Are you with me?
As a veteran, this is personal. The direct and indirect costs of these unnecessary, costly interventionist wars take a heavy toll on our troops and veterans, and on the American people. Our communities face crumbling infrastructure, failing public schools, skyrocketing costs of healthcare and housing, and so much more while we spend trillions of dollars on regime change wars and nation-building.
This must stop. We must stand up to President Trump and the continued abuse of our Constitution by ending presidential wars once and for all. I’m making a promise to you right now: As President, I will put the needs and values of the American people — your needs — first. I will restore War Powers to Congress and you will have a say in the decision to send our troops into harm’s way.
Thank you for fighting with me for a better America,
Tulsi Gabbard, Candidate for President
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY
 It’s going to get uncomfortable and then very uncomfortable. My daughter was in Melbourne when a heatwave melted the roads, the tram rails sank into the tarmac and the electric grid blew. You can cope with that now and then but you don’t want it to become a habit. Things can be done to increase resilience but when you’ve got blinkered people with vested interests who refuse to acknowledge that anything’s even happening, that’s not likely to happen.
 After a while, the public just tunes out the hysterical End-of-Days types, especially since their track record has been spotty at best:
The Population Bomb (1969) - world-wide famine and civilizational collapse by 1980s, didn't happen.
Energy Crisis (1973) - the world will soon run out of oil, gasoline will cost $20 a gallon by 1990.
Killer Bees (1974) - B-movie type invasion of aggressive South American insects stinging us into submission, didn't happen.
Global Cooling (1974) - goes without saying.
Nuclear Winter (1982) - not
AIDS Pandemic (1985) - prediction that HIV would rival the effects of the medieval bubonic plagues. No.
Global Warming (1988) - worldwide devastation within 20 years, blah, blah, blah…we're still here and global temps have stalled for the last dozen years or so (?). Maybe, some day.
Y2K (1999) - no.
WMD's in Iraq (2003) - nooooo.
Then again, while they were waiting for the Killer Bees to get here none foresaw 9/11 or the sub-prime mortgage-fueled economic melt down of 2008. After the novelty of the latest apocalyptic prediction wears off people just go back to their lives and business as usual. Your song and dance was entertaining for a bit, but we've heard it all before and have bills we need to figure out how to pay.
"WAITING TO BE SPRUCED UP"
MEMO OF THE AIR, April 19, 2019
Cherchez les oeufs. Les oeufs du lapin!
The recording of last night's (2019-04-19) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:
Besides all that, also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links, this time more than ever before, to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
The annual Vrondados ritual war of gunpowder rockets. Two churches battle it out for hours the Saturday night before Orthodox Easter. They’ve been doing this for hundreds of years. It’s about the Muslim Ottomans confiscating the islanders' cannons and by some oversight leaving the gunpowder behind. The resourceful locals hastily /invented and manufactured war rockets/ to retaliate. But for some reason the object of the tradition somehow became to strike each other's team's church bell across the entire village from each other, and these things have like zero accuracy. Also, the instant it's over and all the eyes are laved and heads and arms and crotches are bandaged and all the roof fires are put out, the entire populace begins all over again the task of making and stockpiling rockets for next year.
Further adventures in religious cults that are more vigorous and fun than yours. This one is like a cross between The Purge and The Lottery but with turnips. "The first half of the crowd, caught on the wrong side of the action, almost trample each other to avoid broken noses and black eyes. Then the monster stumbles toward a building and leans back against it. Their prey is now an easy target. Now the turnips really fly."
And do you like chess? Do you like dead rodents? "Every single chess piece is a dead mouse that has been lovingly dressed up and decorated to match the pieces from the game."
Marco McClean, email@example.com,
NATE WHITE, ENGLAND, on why the Brits don't like Trump
"A few things spring to mind.
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.
Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.
And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.
Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.
He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.
There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.
So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:
'My God… what… have… I… created?
If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."
MY NEIGHBOR GAVE ME A DOG. I SAID NO.
The bar continues to rise higher and higher and higher. My oldest daughter came by today on her way to DC to (presumably) report to the funding agency for her company, the National Science Foundation. She may become the company president. She may use her frequent flyer miles to take me with her to DC the next time she goes and put me up in a Trump hotel or something at least nominally safe.
She may bring me along on her next trip to Barcelona. She just gave me a souvenir shirt that fits perfectly. When she was leaving I forced her to take a t-shirt out of the laundry. Every woman I have ever known lives wearing her partner's shirt.
I also made her leave in possession of a random physical book. She couldn't make up her mind, so I handed her Wallace Stegner's by Way of Water, picked at random, paperback. She is selling her house in Roseberg and moving to a smaller apartment.
Lynn will be here on Friday around five PM. She will then have another surprise. A new rash on my right wrist. Appeared overnight. Doesn't itch or ooze or anything. I will show it to doc on Thursday. What it means to love New Orleans and by nearing sixty-five.
I will add to this tomorrow. If it works, don't stop reading, as there'll be more. And more. And more. I bow to the creator. The stuff of our live.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS?
To miss New Orleans? As the sole scriptwriter and director of what seems like a lovely idea about where the screenplay of my life should head off toward, my next big long-term goal is to get to New Orleans one way or another. In the next year, spring to next winter.
AmTrak to LA, then on to Austin. New Orleans in a sleeping compartment. With a companion boarded near Austin. This fantasy would set me back about as much, I'd guess, as getting to Antarctica, tomorrow. So I'll probably fly.
The preferred fantasy has us driving across Lake Ponchartrain. A delightful young lady lives in a small house in the ninth ward. She moved there after graduating from UC Berkeley. She works in a mortuary and makes dolls with huge eyes. She plays the violin. Marches in parades.
We could stay with her. She could be our guide. Or we could stay at a cheap and safe motel somewhere nearby. And watch a parade. And the soundtrack is great. And in amongst the brass band and tambourine. Tick tock.